People living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Lanarkshire are benefiting from improved support and care.
A new report, published by the MS Trust and NHS Lanarkshire, has revealed significant improvements in the quality of care and support given to people with multiple sclerosis in Lanarkshire over the past 18 months, resulting in fewer hospital admissions. The Lanarkshire MS nurse service, hosted by South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, is a member of the MS Trust’s pioneering MS Specialist Nurse Programme, which funds new MS nurses in areas across the UK that need them most.
The report summarises some of the key achievements and learnings from the programme period, September 2017 – March 2019, as well as the impact on people with MS’s experience of their care. It highlights success stories across the service, ranging from more home visits and virtual clinics, to longer appointments and better links with other health professionals, to increased trust and confidence in the MS nurses.
Some key headlines from the report include:
- A 29% increase in the number of outpatient attendances from the period Oct 2017 to March 2018.
- The number of times, on average, a patient saw an MS nurse increased from 1.4 to 2.0
- The average number of home visits significantly increased for those receiving them, from 0.10 to 1.15.
Gill Hall, a patient of the service, said:
The support of the Lanarkshire MS nurse service has been excellent. As well as helping with practicalities and clinical support they have really reinforced my fierce belief that MS shouldn’t limit my outlook. I live with MS – I won’t be ruled by it. It has been a challenge, however, and it’s been a comfort to know there are people out there who care and know the effects this can have on your life.
Two years ago NHS Lanarkshire announced that it had recruited two new MS specialist nurses, plus a part-time neurology nurse, to support the 1,200 people living with MS in Lanarkshire. The new nurses were recruited with the assistance of the MS Trust. As part of its nationwide Specialist Nurse Programme, the MS Trust part-funded one of the nurses for 18 months and have been supporting the whole team to make even more of a difference for people affected by MS in Lanarkshire.
The report concludes that the MS nurse service is now reaching more people with MS in Lanarkshire and is providing more accessible, responsive and holistic care. These improvements have contributed to fewer hospitals admissions and ambulatory care required for people with MS, saving the NHS approximately £120,000 over the course of the programme.
Maria Docherty, Nurse Director of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Our relationship and links with the MS Trust have helped us really develop person-centred expertise that’s vital to supporting people with MS. The nurses can help patients adjust to diagnosis, consider complicated treatment options, manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, condition. This report also exemplifies the commitment of our committed and caring staff."
Megan Roberts, Health Professionals Programme Manager at the MS Trust, commented: “We are delighted to see how far the MS service in Lanarkshire has come in the past 18 months and how this has impacted so positively on the patient experience. The MS Trust Specialist Nurse Programme was established to ensure people don’t have to manage MS alone, and it’s fantastic that the MS specialist nurses are connecting people to the service. We are looking forward to seeing how the service continues to improve and flourish in the years to come, supporting even more people with MS and their families in Lanarkshire.”
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