Our report MS Forward View identified that many MS services were unable to offer assessment and treatment to people with progressive MS. There are more than 40,000 people with advanced MS in the UK, who are living with multiple complex symptoms, and often rely on family for care.
With the help of a generous donation from philanthropists The October Club, the MS Trust was able to launch a pilot study. We placed six specialists in Advanced MS in MS teams around the country, including both rural and urban settings. We supplied 90% of the funding for the new NHS posts for 15 months, and recruited two nurses and four therapists to fill them.
These advanced MS specialists were known as Advanced MS Champions or AMSCs. We mentored the new AMSCs and supported their teams to integrate the new roles. Each site was rigorously evaluated and we collected data to demonstrate the impact of the pilot study.
Our report on the AMSC pilot study was published in 2022.
Nicola began her role as an AMSC in 2019, she operates a service in North Cumbria that looks after the most complex cases of MS in her area. During this time, she has made a significant impact on MS care in her region, enhancing the patient experience and reducing unnecessary hospital admissions by her timely interventions.
Lindsay was our first AMSC and started in 2018. Lindsay reached out to find people with MS who had not had specialist assessment or support in years. By delivering proactive, holistic care and working across boundaries to coordinate and develop care pathways, she has brought people with advanced MS back into the service and made a marked contribution to MS care around Salford.
Ruth is a physiotherapist who became our 5th AMSC in 2020. In her first year she helped to reduce the number of people with advanced MS needing to go into hospital by over 20%. By caring for and supporting these patients at home she prevented them needing to endure the stress of a hospital stay and saved £107K for the NHS.
Ruth focused her service on respiratory pathways for advanced MS and implemented changes to improve education around respiratory problems and treatments.
Leanne was the second AMSC to be appointed in June 2019 and was a physiotherapist by background. Leanne coordinated care for people with advanced MS across different services, and provided specialist, proactive and individualised care to people with advanced MS and their families, helping them understand their condition, manage symptoms and identify problems.
Tania is a physiotherapist who was appointed as our final AMSC in 2020. Tania has brought much-needed care to people in the local area living with the complex and often devastating symptoms that characterise advanced MS, as well as providing support to families and carers. This post succeeded in reducing unplanned hospital admissions and improving the quality of life of patients with advanced MS.
Nicola was recruited as an AMSC for Poole in December 2019. Within her first 15 months in post, Nicola was able to increase the number of appointments delivered to people with advanced MS by 228%. This helped 26 people avoid a hospital stay, which equates to an annual cost saving to the NHS of £126,828.