Better coordinated services needed for people with neurological conditions
02 August 2012
A recent report highlights delays in diagnosis, lack of information and worrying levels of emergency admissions.
The Neurological Alliance, of which the MS Trust is a member, has published a report that documents a poor level of care for people with neurological conditions including MS. Problems include poor coordination and inadequate levels of care by GPs, other community health and social care services. This gives rise to hospital admissions which could have been avoided. Delays in diagnosis and being given too little information about what is wrong were also documented.
Neurological services take up more than 5% of the NHS budget making it the eighth largest category of expenditure but the level of spending varies widely from one area to another. The Alliance warns that the ongoing health reforms may not improve the situation.
In 2011, the MS Trust, with the Royal College of Physicians, completed its third national survey of NHS services for people with MS and also found gaps in services. This audit of services, which involved people with multiple sclerosis, GPs, hospitals, NHS trusts and Strategic Health Authorities, showed that basic symptoms such as pain, fatigue and problems with cognition are not well treated. It also highlighted that despite people with MS losing on average 18 years of their working lives, most people do not have access to specialist vocational rehabilitation in most areas.
As members of the Neurological Alliance and on behalf of people with MS, the MS Trust is very disappointed with the findings of the report. People with MS need well coordinated health and social care services to manage this complex condition. The way services are commissioned is changing and, with tight budgets, it will be important to make sure that people with MS get the help they need.Pam Macfarlane, Chief Executive of the MS Trust