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Why we’re working with Parkinson’s and epilepsy charities to safeguard specialist nurses

At the MS Trust we believe that everyone with MS should have access to an MS specialist nurse. We believe that MS specialist nurses are the best people to help you manage the whole range of health issues around MS.

We know that there aren’t enough MS specialist nurses in the UK. We also know that there are increasing financial pressures on the NHS. In practice this means that NHS organisations are trying to work out how to cut their costs, and MS specialist nurse posts are at risk, along with other staff.

Some MS specialist nurses might have to work at least one day a week on the wards. That means one day a week less to help people with MS manage their condition.

We know that people with other long-term neurological conditions, for example epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease, are also concerned about the future of their own specialist nurses.

That’s why we’ve been working with Parkinson’s UK, the Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action to support specialist nurses under increasing pressure. Together we’re developing a new online resource to help specialist nurses in situations where their roles are coming under threat.

The resource will offer help with dealing with six common problems:

  • downgrading – where the employer wants to reduce the professional banding (and therefore pay)
  • redundancy
  • change of role from condition-specific to general neurology nurse specialist
  • redeployment – where a nurse is asked to spend more time on the wards
  • vacancy – where a vacant specialist nursing post goes unadvertised and there appear to be no plans to fill it
  • change of employer from NHS to independent provider

We hope that this resource will put specialist nurses in a much stronger position to defend their roles. We will have more information on this urgent project in the next issue of Open Door. To keep up to date with progress, sign up for our news alerts or follow us on social media.