MS is not a priority

In response to a common yesterday: “Lobbying is all fine and well, however, last month the English Department of Health published its corporate plan and MS isn’t mentioned in the Plan. Neither is neurology by name. The only health conditions mentioned by name are: cardiovascular, respiratory and liver diseases, cancer, stroke and dementia. MS is not a priority despite hardened lobbying by trusts, societies and political lobbyists.”

“The NHS is in a state of flux; budgets have been frozen and the Department of Health are expecting us to make massive efficiency gains, i.e. doing more with less. This is impossible when it comes to expensive drugs; we simply don’t have the power or means to lower the price of expensive drugs. What we can do is be creative and focus on providing more cost-effective services, for example shifting our services into the community, or providing them via e-medicine platforms, or running a nurse-led service and reducing the involvement of neurologists. What is more controversial is preventative neurology, can we do things today to prevent the complications of MS? The problem with this is that it requires a different NHS mindset; NHS money spent today to prevent expenditure down the road. NHS budgets are done yearly, so trying to increase expenditure this year to prevent say admissions next year is a hard sell.”

“The NHS have provided us with some tools to help improve efficiency. The main portal for this is a new Department called NHS Improvement. To try and tap into the resources that come with NHS Improvement, Professor Dawn Langdon, a neuropsychologist and colleague of mine, and I wrote to Dr Janet Williamson National Director NHS Improvement, requesting that MS be included on the scheduled. The following is a copy of the email we received back from her.”

‘Thank you for your email and your kind comments. I would love to offer support but unfortunately MS is not in our portfolio of work at this moment in time . It may well be in the future and I have made a note of your request . Happy to have further dialogue with you in terms of advice or signposting any of our material which you may use with pleasure.’ Dr Janet Williamson, National Director, NHS Improvement

“So if you want to help; I suggest you drop Dr Williamson a note, or contact your local MP, simply requesting that NHS Improvement prioritises MS; i.e. includes MS on its portfolio. It is the least the NHS can do considering the amount it spends, or doesn’t spend, on looking after MSers.”

“What about MS?”

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