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The October Club and MS Trust announce plans to transform care for people with advanced MS

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The October Club and the MS Trust today announce ambitious new plans to transform the lives of thousands of people living with advanced MS by funding new champions to manage and co-ordinate their care

Since 1987 the October Club, a group of people working in the City of London Equity Business, has raised over £10 million for transformational projects, with an average £500,000 for each cause. For their 30th anniversary they have chosen to raise funds for the MS Trust’s Advanced MS Champions project, which will bring urgently needed care and support to people living with complex and challenging symptoms.

Advanced MS is characterised by increasing disability, including mobility and balance problems, severe pain and fatigue, difficulty swallowing, spasticity, bladder and bowel problems, and loss of memory. The MS Trust estimates up to 40,000 people in the UK have advanced MS.

However, MS Trust research has found that many people with advanced MS report losing contact with MS specialist services as their condition gets worse, and have to rely on informal care from family and friends, and sometimes have to manage this debilitating disease alone.

Thanks to the support of the October Club, the MS Trust is now able to launch a new three-year programme to pioneer new Advanced MS Champions to bring co-ordinated care to people in urgent need.

“Since 1987 the October Club has been proud to give something back, by helping small charities make a huge difference,” said Mark Pumfrey, Chair of The October Club. “We’re delighted that for our 30th anniversary we will be helping a great charity, the MS Trust, transform support for people living with a desperately challenging condition.”

“The MS Trust is honoured to have been chosen to work with The October Club,” said Pam Macfarlane, Chief Executive of the MS Trust. “Our work over the past five years has shown that people with advanced MS and their families all too often miss out on vital specialist care. The generous support of The October Club will enable us to act boldly on our research and make a huge difference for these people today.”

The MS Trust’s programme will fund six new Champions, over a three-year period, in select locations, to trial different approaches and models of care ahead of a national roll-out. These Champions will work with people with MS and their families to understand their needs. They will use their specialist knowledge to help them manage their symptoms, and will help identify potential issues before they become emergencies. They will also co-ordinate care from other specialists including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, palliative and social care, to provide properly joined-up support.

Partnership with the MS teams in the NHS will be key. The MS Trust believes these Champions will be able to demonstrate significantly better care for people with MS, and dramatically reduce NHS costs and emergency hospital admissions by providing ongoing, proactive care. With a firm commitment from the NHS to permanently fund these posts, and MS Trust plans to build on this pilot programme, The October Club investment will leave a huge and lasting legacy for the future.