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How we’ve helped secure the future of services for people with MS in Northumberland

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  • Our GEMSS programme helps safeguard the role of an MS nurse at Northumbria NHS Trust
  • The programme enters its second phase with ten new teams from around the UK

In recent issues of Open Door we’ve told you a lot about our nurse support programme, GEMSS (Generating Evidence in MS Services). Last year we ran a pilot project helping four MS services around the country measure the impact of their work so they can demonstrate to managers what a vital, cost-effective service they deliver.

Because a lot of this work is about managing data and writing reports it can sometimes feel a little abstract: what practical difference does it make to you if you’re affected by MS?’

Well, we’ve recently found out that our work has been instrumental in keeping Miriam Forster, an MS nurse in Northumberland, in a permanent post. This means that people with MS in the region will continue to have access to high quality, expert MS care.

Northumbria NHS Trust covers one of the largest areas in the country. Because of the the distances many people with MS aren’t easily able to access clinics. In the last year Miriam and her colleague, Jane Metcalfe, traveled over 18,000 miles, making sure that everyone with MS, no matter where they live in the county, was able to receive expert advice and support.

However Miriam’s post was not permanent and was due to come to an end this year. With only one MS nurse covering such a vast area the service would inevitably deteriorate. Ultimately, with much more limited access to specialist support, advice and information, the wellbeing of people with MS could suffer.

But thanks to Jane and Miriam’s participation in GEMSS, and the evidence they were able to produce, we are delighted to report that Northumbria NHS Trust has now made Miriam’s post permanent. This is a great result for people with MS in Northumberland, but also for everyone affected by MS in the UK.

We’d like to thank everyone who has supported our work protecting MS services. We’re delighted to see it already making a real-life difference. This year our GEMSS programme enters a new phase, with ten new teams of MS nurses and therapists. We look forward to helping them deliver even better services for everyone affected by MS.

Find out more about our MS service support programme.


MS Life 2014

MS Life 2014, the world’s biggest lifestyle and information event for people with MS, will take place at the Manchester Central convention centre on 26 and 27 April and we’re pleased to announce that the MS Trust will be there. We’re delighted to be working with the MS Society and Professor Dawn Langdon to put on a workshop on maintaining and improving your memory, featuring some of the resources from our innovative Staying Smart website.

MS Life is organised by the MS Society and is a great opportunity to hear the latest from the MS researchers, find out about how to manage your MS and to meet other people with MS too.

Registration is free. Find out more about the programme, and details of grants to help with the cost of travel if you live outside Manchester, at

This article is from our free quarterly newsletter, Open Door. Sign up to receive your copy by post or email, or read the latest edition in full.

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