Manifesto To Improve Health Outcomes For People With MS

gamma knife surgery uk - Multiple Sclerosis written on a clipboard

The MS Society has launched a manifesto in parliament to address the challenges faced by people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Campaigners are calling on the next UK government to take action to improve the standard of care for people with MS, and to give them better support for the financial and medical challenges that they face.

The manifesto draws attention to the fact that there are currently almost a quarter of a million people on the neurology waiting list. This is compounded by shortages of appropriately trained and qualified medical staff. 

The manifesto calls for a UK-wide neurological taskforce backed up by adequate investment and support so that people with MS can access the right treatments at the right time, helping to improve their quality of life. It also calls for better mental health support for those living with MS to help them cope with the distress and uncertainty they are facing.

Previous calls to reform the benefit system are also reinforced, as presently it can be complex to navigate and some people with MS may be denied fair access. It can also be difficult for people with MS to transition into employment, even if they are fit to do so, because of benefit rules and discrimination by employers.

This can leave people facing stressful financial difficulties at a time when they may have to find extra money for prescriptions and non-NHS services, such as physiotherapy or adaptations to their home or vehicle. 

Furthermore, the adult social care system that many people rely on for support with the activities of daily living is severely affected by staff shortages and underfunding. This can leave people living with MS in their own homes without the basic care that they need to survive. Campaigners are calling for decisive action and reforms to the system.

MS is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the protective coating of the nerve fibres in the spinal cord, interfering with communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Over time, this can cause permanent damage to the nerves.

There are several types of MS. The most common types are relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), and primary progressive MS (PPMS). RRMS is characterised by flare ups of symptoms followed by a period of recovery, and PPMS is a steadily worsening progression of the condition.

Symptoms vary over time and between individuals. The most common symptoms include difficulty mobilising, fatigue, dizziness, tremor, and numbness or weakness of the limbs.  There is cross-party support for the new manifesto, and MPs from several parties attended the launch in the House of Lords. 

Chair of the APPG for MS, Charlotte Nichols MP, said: “The MS Society’s manifesto is full of ideas to address the many challenges facing people living with MS. I was delighted to welcome the MS Society to speak about these issues at the AGM of the APPG for MS this week.”

She added: “Hearing Phoebe share her experience of living with MS was a powerful testimony of why it’s so important to deliver change for people affected bv MS. The MS Society’s manifesto offers insight to MPs and prospective candidates about the policies we can advocate for in parliament to transform the lives of people living with MS.”

“It is a real privilege to work on an issue close to my heart and bring other parliamentarians together to do the same. I was delighted to be re-elected as Chair of the APPG for MS and I look forward to continue championing the issue in parliament.”

Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs, Charlotte Gill, said: MPs now, and in any future parliament, have the opportunity to play a crucial role in transforming the way people with MS are supported to live full lives.”

“We urgently need effective diagnosis and treatment pathways, timely access to life-changing therapies, and well-resourced health and social care to stay well.”

“We also need the financial security that comes with being supported to stay in work that fits our skills and experience for as long as we can. As well as a welfare system that recognises the unique challenges people with MS face and that is set up to support them.”

The manifesto is launched ahead of the anticipated General Election, and also MS Awareness Week from 22-28 April. 

For further information about multiple sclerosis and nerves damage treatment or Gamma Knife surgery, please contact Mr Jonathan Hyam of Amethyst Radiotherapy.