MS Trust Raises Concerns About Impact of Lockdown on MS Services

Joint research revealed this week by the MS Trust and the MS Society reveals that access to MS services is being severely impacted by the current pandemic, with 70% of MS professionals saying they believe the MS service they work in is not currently able to meet patients’ needs to the extent it was pre-pandemic.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of MS professionals believe neurological rehabilitation services have been impacted by the pandemic, with appointments having been limited, delayed or cancelled, while they report that they are struggling to return to pre-Covid capacity safely. Three in four (75%) said a backlog of patients was a challenge, more than three in five (66%) said a lack of physical space to deliver care safely was problematic, while three in five (60%) said patients being reluctant to attend appointments was having an impact. You can read the full report here.

Furthermore, a recent survey by the Neurological Alliance found people living with neurological conditions, including MS, are also experiencing delays to their medical appointments. More than seven in ten (72%) said one or more of their NHS appointments had been delayed, while nearly one in four (23%) had experienced difficulty in obtaining their regular medication.

Leading South Wales Neurophysiotherapist Sara Davis is concerned that limiting access to neurorehabilitation services will have a knock on effect on other NHS services.  Sara explains:

“Limiting access to neurorehabilitation services has a long-term cost for the economy as well as a very real human cost – and it isn’t only MS patients who are suffering.  Treatment helps patients recover abilities after a stroke or brain injury, while helping to maintain functional abilities for as long as possible in people with complex neurological conditions such as MS, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s Disease, which reduces the burden on other areas of the NHS and on social care services.
“As a leading private neurophysio clinic in South Wales, NeuroPhysio Wales is doing our best to support the NHS by increasing the availability of private treatment.  Demand is extremely high because access to local NHS services has been impacted by the pandemic, so we have taken on additional staff.  Delayed access to treatment will impact directly on patient wellbeing.  We cannot afford to let patient recovery falter during the pandemic and I would urge MS patients who cannot currently access NHS treatment to look towards the private sector or telemedicine rather than risk a relapse.
“Restoring these vital NHS services to full capacity must be an absolute priority as the UK settles into the new normal.”
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