News - February 2006
Open Door - February 2006 page 3
- Diagnosis and the DDA
- New Office for Disability Issues
- Your health, your care, your say
- Cannabis based medicine
- CUPID trial
- MS Together
- MS Week Chatroom
Diagnosis and the DDA
On 5 December 2005, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was extended so that people with MS are now protected from the point of diagnosis.
Previously, the law only applied when MS had a long-term effect on day-to-day activities. This sometimes left people with no obvious disability vulnerable to discrimination from employers or in accessing services simply because of their diagnosis.
The Point of Diagnosis website has been set up to explain the extended coverage to people affected, their employers and service providers. Alternatively, contact the Disability Rights Commission helpline - 08457 622633.
[The Disability Discrimination Act was replaced by the Equality Act in October 2010]
New Office for Disability Issues
The Office for Disability Issues (ODI), a new government department, was established in December 2005. The ODI's brief is to work with other government departments to improve inclusion for disabled people with the aim of a fully inclusive society by 2025.
Your health, your care, your say
In England, community provision of services has often been split between the NHS and social services. This has led to confusion, delay and inappropriate service provision for many people.
The government is addressing this in a White Paper which announces a move towards integrating health services, such as community nurses and therapists, with social services, such as social workers and equipment supply.
Integrated services already exist in Northern Ireland, and the planned Community Health Partnerships will approach this in Scotland. The Welsh Assembly has indicated that it is also moving in this direction.
Cannabis based medicine
In November 2005, the Home Office confirmed that doctors are now able to prescribe Sativex, a cannabis based mouth spray, on a 'named patient basis' for people with MS. If a doctor believes Sativex is the appropriate treatment and other medications have been unsuccessful, they can apply to the Home Office for a licence for that specific person. Whether the NHS funds this will vary from place to place.
Sativex has been shown to help relieve symptoms such as spasticity, pain, bladder symptoms and sleep problems for some people.
5. CUPID trial
The CUPID (Cannabinoid Use in Progressive Inflammatory brain Disease) trial of oral cannabis tablets as a treatment for progressive MS should start very soon. The five year trial will examine whether cannabis can slow progressive MS, and whether it is safe to use over the long-term.
Researchers will recruit 500 people with primary or secondary progressive MS at a number of hospitals across the UK. Participants, who should be aged between 18 and 65, must not have used cannabis in the month before the start of the trial and be willing not to use cannabis, apart from the study medication, for the duration of the trial. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may not take part in this trial.
For more information, visit the CUPID trial website or ring 0800 015 3430.
6. MS Together
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
This issue of our newsletter includes our Annual Review. Please read what we have done together in the last year. The full Annual Report and Accounts is also available.
MS Week Chatroom
The next MS Trust chatroom will take place during MS Week - 22-29 April - when a panel of health professionals will be answering questions on bowel problems. See the Chatroom page for more information.
Contact us if you would like to receive email reminders about chatrooms
If you are unable to join the chatroom, you can email your question in advance.