Improved service for MS patients
Multiple sclerosis patients look set to benefit from the recruitment of two new MS specialist nurses to support the 1200 people living with the condition in Lanarkshire.
A part-time neurology nurse will also join the NHS Lanarkshire team later this month thanks to assistance from the MS Trust – a UK charity which works to make sure that people with MS get the best possible care.
The crisis in the care of MS patients in Lanarkshire was exposed with the shock resignation of Mhairi Coutts, the region’s only specialist nurse, earlier this year.
Ms Coutts handed in her notice after working with a caseload of 1200 people – almost four times the recommended limit.
It revealed a serious staffing problem across Scotland with MS Society Scotland stating that there is a widespread lack of specialist nurses to look after sufferers at home.
As part of its nationwide specialist nurse programme, the MS Trust will be part-funding one of the nurses for 15 months and supporting the whole team to make a difference for people affected by MS in Lanarkshire.
NHS Lanarkshire worked together with the MS Trust to review the MS service and to ensure there was minimal impact on patient care.
Maria Docherty, nurse director of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:“Thanks to funding and support from the MS Trust, we were able to appoint two new nurses when previously we had one. NHS Lanarkshire will continue to fund the additional nurse on a permanent basis after the first 15 months. This will mean we will be able to deliver an improved service for local people affected by MS.”
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 condition.