MS Nurse Mapping

MS Nurse Mapping 2021

Multiple sclerosis specialist nursing in the UK 2021: results from the MS Trust nurse mapping survey.

The MS Trust surveys multiple sclerosis (MS) nurses every 2 years to investigate MS specialist nurse services across the UK. This year's survey was due to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19. We surveyed 133 services and 176 MS health professionals in order to find out more about MS services across the UK.

Key facts

  • Over 130,000* people live with MS in the UK
  • 8 in 10 people with MS live in areas with unsustainable caseloads
  • 50% more MS nurses are needed to make caseloads sustainable across the UK
  • Only 1 in 3 teams provide home visits
  • 1 in 5 MS nurse teams have no administrative support
  • 1 in 3 MS nurses are planning to retire in the next 5 years

*Figures correct at the time of publication. New prevalence figures have since been published.

MS Nurse Mapping 2021


This report maps the provision of MS specialist nurses across the UK. It's based on a survey of UK MS services originally undertaken in 2014 and updates similar work carried out between 2014 - 2018. The report examines the number of people with MS in the UK and establishes the number of MS nurses working across the UK and their associated caseloads. This data is used to identify how adequate provision is compared to the MS Trust's sustainable caseload of 315* people with MS for each Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) MS specialist nurse.

*The sustainable caseload figure was reduced from 358 due to increased demand on MS specialist nurse time (primarily due to increases in monitoring disease modifying drugs (DMDs)).

Key findings (as of February 2022)

  • The total number of people with MS on MS specialist nurse caseloads across the UK is estimated to be 140,633 using self-reported caseloads. This is higher than Public Health England (2020) estimates.
  • Despite increases in the number of MS specialist nurses, caseloads across the UK have significantly increased from previous surveys. The mean caseload is 472 people with MS per WTE
  • Most people in the UK live in areas where caseloads are unsustainable with 79% of people with MS living in areas where MS specialist nurses have caseloads in excess of 315.
  • For every MS nurse in the UK to have a sustainable caseload we would need a 50% increase in the current MS nurse workforce, equivalent to an extra 149 WTE MS specialist nurses.

What we're doing about it

The MS Trust continues to run the Specialist Nurse Programme and the Advanced MS Champions programme to create more MS nurse posts. We support existing MS specialists to improve their services, in addition to providing training and trusted information to ensure that everyone living with MS can access the support they need, and no one has to manage MS alone.

Previous MS nurse mapping reports

Our nurse mapping reports present findings from our national survey of UK multiple sclerosis specialist nurses.