TiMS newsletter issue 8


Welcome to the first newsletter of 2018.

The TiMS Working Group has been busy over the past year on a number of important projects and today we are delighted to be launching one of the main ones - the MS Competency Framework for physiotherapists and occupational therapists. We hope you find the competencies useful – please let us know what you think.

We have some other exciting projects in the pipeline including the Self-Assessment Annual Review tool which we will be piloting over the coming months at centres across the UK. We have also been making video clips which can used as teaching tools as well as a working on a new audit tool for MS services.

This newsletter also covers feedback from the 2017 MS Trust conference and reports on an exciting new project being run at Edinburgh University looking at differences in the experience of people with MS when they are seen by generic or specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

It’s going to be a busy year!

Pam Bostock and Wendy Hendrie (Co-chairs of TiMS)

The MS competencies are here!

After many months of work and promises, the competencies are finally ready. They are profession-specific word documents, which you can tailor to your work setting and learning requirements. They are long (100 pages), but don’t be put off - they are detailed skills and knowledge frameworks which, hopefully, cover most things that PTs and OTs, at every career level, should know when managing people with MS.

If you would like a copy please email therapistsinms@mstrust.org.uk. stating which version you require, PT or OT.

We want you to try them and feedback to us any problems, omissions etc so that we can, over the coming year, turn them into something that is useful for therapists and, ultimately, a tool which will improve and standardise the management of people with MS in the UK.

MS Trust Conference feedback

The 21st MS Trust conference was held in Hinckley in November and more than 250 health professionals gathered to share best practice, update knowledge and have a little fun along the way. The theme that stood out was the real difference nurses and therapists can make to quality of life by helping people with MS make health lifestyle choices.

Bursary funds

The MS Trust has four bursaries available to support registered nurses and allied health professionals with education and training to enable them to best meet the needs of people with MS: The Dr Rosemary Toye fund, the Therapist bursary fund, the John Harrison fund and the Helen Ley fund which is specifically to support those working in advanced MS.These funds include, but are not limited to, education and training provided by the MS Trust.

Online video tutorials

The TiMS education group have produced a series of short video clips which can used as teaching tools. Final tweaks are being made to the clips and they will be available on the TiMS website very soon.

Other news

Self-assessment annual review form

Following a lot of discussion and work within the TiMS working group we are now ready to pilot the annual review form. 17 sites across the UK have expressed an interest in being part of the pilot. We will update you on how the pilot is going in the next newsletter.

Audit tool

One of our projects this year is to develop an audit tool that can be used by AHPs to audit the services they provide against ageed standards. It is proposed that the tool can be used by any MS service (therapy, nurse or multi-disciplinary team). It will be largely based on the consensus statements from the MS Trust's MS Forward View report together with parts of the recent NICE guidelines and areas TiMS deem important. The Working Group has made a start on developing the skeleton of the tool. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project.   

MS in Practice

The MS Trust has launched MS in Practice a new publication for MS health professionals. Designed to provide essential updates on the latest thinking in MS care in an easily-digestible format, bringing together the most important news and views in one place. If you have not received a copy in the post you can read it here. Let us know what you think hpteam@mstrust.org.uk.

TiMS working group meeting

The working group met in London at the beginning of February for their first meeting of 2018. Please contact therapistsinms@mstrust.org.uk if you would like a copy of the minutes from this meeting.

Ask TiMS

If you have a question about any aspect of managing MS, contact therapists@mstrust.org.uk and we will do our very best to answer it. We publish one question in every newsletter.


What is the best way of helping someone newly diagnosed with MS cope with fatigue?


Fatigue is a common symptom in MS as well as other conditions and the MS Trust and MS Society produce useful leaflets on fatigue. From a therapist's perspective, however, it is important to look at things which can be easily remedied and may be exacerbating their experience of fatigue, for example:

  • low mood, anxiety and depression
  • the environment they are living/working in e.g. poor lighting
  • lack of sleep, e.g. because of spasms, trips to the toilet
  • lack of exercise and being deconditioned - regular exercise is vital and can help to reduce fatigue
  • medication which may be making fatigue worse e.g. anti-spasticity medications
  • respiratory problems
  • long-standing pain (either neuropathic or nociceptive)

Running a fatigue management course such as FACETS for people with fatigue can be a useful way of helping them understand the problem and find ways of coping with it more effectively.

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