Letchworth's MS Trust launches campaign over desperate need for specialist nurses

PUBLISHED: 08:28 13 December 2019

Jenna Chudasama was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 22 and says the MS Trust has provided  much-needed support. Picture: Courtesy of MS Trust

Jenna Chudasama was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 22 and says the MS Trust has provided much-needed support. Picture: Courtesy of MS Trust

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The MS Trust has launched a campaign calling for the Government to help address the desperate shortage of specialist multiple sclerosis nurses by providing funding for training.

The charity, based in Letchworth, says there are about 130,000 people in the UK living with MS and for some of these people MS nurses are a lifeline, helping 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.

Yet often people are missing out on the vital care and support these nurses provide, simply because there are not enough nurses to meet the demand.

The MS Trust says 115 more nurses are required to ensure everyone living with MS in the UK can access the care they need, and its #fairMScare campaign is calling for government to fund training.

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Beyond the needs of MS patients, the charity estimates each nurse saves the NHS £72,000 per year in hospital admissions, visits to A&E and appointments with neurologists and GPs.

Through its Specialist Nurse Programme, it has already funded seven extra nurses. Jenna Chudasama has benefited, with her nurse Jon Maisey the first to be funded by it.

Jenna was diagnosed with MS aged 22. She said: "When I met my MS nurse everything started to make sense. I could ask the questions I wanted to and I left my first appointment thinking 'I can do this.'

"Whether it's having issues with a DVLA application or concerns about my holiday, Jon is able to give me an answer. I am so grateful and have always felt so blessed I have a nurse who is constantly there to support me in every way. It's worrying to know some areas don't have that support."

David Martin, chief executive of the MS Trust, said: "MS specialist nurses do a fantastic job, but they are coming under increasing pressure to deliver the same exceptional level of care while taking on more and more patients. As a result, we know many people with MS are missing out on the specialist support they need and deserve. This is simply not right or fair."

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