For many people with multiple sclerosis, the MS Trust Enquiry Service helpline is an invaluable source of information and support. We speak to Information Officer Corinne, about her role and how the people she speaks to inspire her everyday!
Hi Corinne, what’s a typical day like on the Enquiry Service?
My days are very varied. There are calls from people seeking all sorts of different information relating to life with MS. There are now seven of us in the team and we answer calls, reply to emails and respond to queries which have come through social media. I'm usually on the phones, so I get to speak to a
lot of the people who call up, which I love doing. We use a virtual telephone system, meaning we can all answer calls from home which is great as we are still working remotely. I spend my days tucked in my little back room at home, ready and waiting with my headset and laptop to answer your enquiries.
What do people ask about when they call the Enquiry Service?
Absolutely anything that might relate to any symptom they are experiencing such as pain, cognitive issues or fatigue. When you are living with MS it's more than just a medical issue and we talk to people who need pointers to help at work, with benefits or other aspects of life with MS. We also talk to people who are worried they might have MS and don't know what to do next.
Did you get different questions during the pandemic? How did it change as time went on?
Yes, as lockdown started and different guidelines were published regularly, we had lots of enquiries from people asking if they should be shielding or if it was safe for them to go to work. The team had to really pull together to get through them all. As the guidelines changed so frequently, my colleagues worked hard to update the Covid-19 page with any new information. It was quite hectic at times. As the pandemic progressed the type of enquiry changed, For example, we started to get a lot of people asking if it was safe for people with MS to have the Covid vaccines or return to work or travel.
Are calls only from people with MS or do you get calls from family and friends too?
We get all sorts of calls and enquiries from family members, friends, work colleagues and health professionals as well as from people with MS. It's great that they can come to us for information to help better support the person they know with MS. Having more information on anything from the social care available to MS symptoms can be invaluable.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about contacting the Enquiry Service, but is not sure if we can help?
Please just ask! You can call us for free or email in your question. We're here to help and if we can't answer your question we will let you know someone who can.
What have you learned from your role at the MS Trust? Has anything particularly surprised you?
I learn something new about MS every day! I always say that although we aren't medically trained, we do have years of experience as a team, talking to people about their MS and the many questions that can arise. I'm always surprised by what a difference we can make, just by talking through people's concerns and pointing them to resources which may help.
How do your colleagues in the Enquiry Service support each other?
We always make sure we stay in touch, especially as we're working remotely. If I need some advice with an enquiry, one of my colleagues is always there to help. When we were in our office of course, it would be to make a round of tea and coffee! I'm so lucky to work with such friendly and caring people across the charity as a whole. You’ve done quite a bit of fundraising for the MS Trust, what inspired you to do that? I've always enjoyed a bit of a challenge and I found running a way of getting some headspace and fresh air after a busy day which I combined with fundraising. I've heard first-hand how hard life with MS can be at times and I feel, by raising money for the MS Trust, I can help support even more people affected
by MS. The people I speak to everyday inspire me!
If you have a question about MS contact our Enquiry Service free of charge on 0800 032 3839 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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