The programme will see the MS Trust help to recruit and fund two new MS specialist nurses to be based at Leicester General Hospital in Leicester. The MS Trust will work with the Leicester MS team to help them make the most of the new nurses and demonstrate the difference they make to local people living with MS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. After 15 months, Leicester’s Hospitals will take over funding for the posts, but the MS Trust will continue to support the nurses’ training and development, as it does for all MS nurses in the UK.
MS specialist nurses are vital for people living with MS. They can help them adjust to diagnosis, consider complicated treatment options, manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, lifelong condition.
Without MS nurses, people with MS may have to manage difficult symptoms alone. They may also have to rely on expensive emergency care when their symptoms get worse.
MS Trust research into nursing levels across the UK has found around two-thirds of the 108,000 people with MS in the UK live in areas where there aren’t enough MS nurses. The research highlighted Leicester as one of the areas most urgently in need of support.
Pam Macfarlane, Chief Executive of the MS Trust, explains: “The MS Trust has long campaigned about the need for more MS nurses, but this is the first time we have taken the step of helping develop and fund new posts.
“Everyone is incredibly excited about the prospect of new MS nurses in Leicester. We hope these nurses will make a huge difference to the hundreds of local people living with MS. We’re grateful to all our supporters for helping us take the first step towards our overall goal of making sure that no one in the UK has to manage MS alone.”
Allison Smith, MS Specialist Nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals, added: “We were so pleased to be the recipients of the MS Trust funding as it has allowed us to start the recruitment process which is really exciting. We have really big plans to support people with MS throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland by having more community clinics and allowing more access to MS specialists. We have already developed an induction plan for the new recruits and can’t wait for them to start. We have around 1600 people with MS known to us and I am sure they will be happy to hear that they will have more access to support.”
Recruitment has now begun and it is hoped that the new nurses will start work in April.