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    MS Nurses

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    MS NurseWhat is an MS Nurse?

    Specialist nursing roles are relatively new and thankfully more and more MS nurses are being recruited around the country as people in the medical world are beginning to realise just how important this service is!

    We offer our service to anyone who has a diagnosis of MS and are under the care of a neurologist in the hospital we work in. We deal with telephone advice, hold nurse led Clinics and do home visits. We also are involved in teaching sessions to other healthcare professionals, to people in nursing homes and to people with MS themselves.

    We wear many hats:

    • Counsellor’s Hat - Giving support and advice.

    • Citizen’s Advice Hat - We are often asked about benefits and the filling in of benefit forms!

    • Nurses Hat - What we are most of the time.

    • Teacher’s Hat - Teaching many people all about MS.

    • Pupil’s hat - We learn all the time, not just from Books & Doctors but from you the Patient and this is very important as you are the people who know and can give support to others by your own experiences.

    We may not know all the answers but we will endeavour to find them out for you. Our aim is to offer a 1st Class Service which I hope we do!

    By Adrienne Cox
    MS Specialist Nurse, Dept. of Neurosciences, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.

    To find out whether there is an MS Nurse working in your area please contact your Neurologist or the MSRC.

    Western isles MS nurse appointed

    MS NursesNHS Western Isles is delighted to announce that an MS Specialist Nurse is due to start work in the Western Isles shortly, following a successful interview process.

    The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society and NHS Western Isles jointly agreed funding arrangements for the post. The MS Society has agreed to provide funding for an MS Nurse for nine months, on the understanding that NHS Western Isles will continue to fund the post. The interview panel included a representative from the national MS Society and a representative from the Western Isles branch of the MS Society, as well as senior staff from NHS Western Isles.

    Successful applicant, Rachel Morrison, will be based in Stornoway as the MS Specialist Nurse. Rachel currently works in Broadbay Medical Practice, and she will start in her new position with NHS Western Isles early in May 2012. Rachel has 22 years of nursing experience and also has experience of nursing patients with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological conditions.

    NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “The Board is delighted that Rachel has been appointed as our local MS Specialist Nurse. She brings with her a commitment to improve the care and services provided to people with MS in the Western Isles. More than 80 people in the Western Isles are diagnosed with MS, and the Board fully recognises how beneficial it will be for these individuals and their carers/families to have the support and care provided by Rachel to promote symptom management, gain psychological support and to be empowered to self manage their condition. This will provide a timely and responsive service, enhancing continuity of care.”

    He added: “We are delighted to have been able to successfully work in partnership with the MS Society to be able to develop this service. Whilst this appointment has been a long time in coming, we believe it is the right way forward and the best support we can offer to MS patients in the Western Isles.”

    MS Society Service Development Manager Andrew Johnston commented: “The MS Society has worked closely with the health board over recent years to ensure a MS nurse was appointed to the area. This is great news for people affected by MS in the Western Isles as it will help them manage their condition day-to-day.

    “We welcome Rachel into her post and look forward to working with her moving forward.”

    NHS Western Isles also continues to progress with plans to further develop local neurological services for the wide range of neurological conditions, which will involve investment in training for staff, and the development of a formal network with a mainland Board for specialist support.

    Source: Stornoway Gazette © 2012 Johnston Publishing Ltd (03/04/12)

    MS sufferers in islands ‘are victims of discrimination’

    MS NursesHealth chiefs in the Western Isles are having to advertise a specialist multiple sclerosis (MS) nursing post for a third time because the salary is too low, campaigners claim.

    The Western Isles, which has 90 diagnosed MS sufferers, is the only health board in Scotland without a specialist nurse.

    Scotland has the highest rates of MS in the world.

    Sufferers who need to see a consultant have to make a 12-hour journey to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

    Last July, after a three-year campaign, funding for the full-time post was agreed but the salary grading was determined at band 6 (£25,528 – £34,189) rather than band 7 (£30,460 - £40,157) which would be the usual payment for a specialist nurse.

    MS sufferer Christine Stewart, 54, from Stornoway, said: “We feel we are being discriminated against. Quite simply, not enough money is being offered for an experienced professional.”

    Source: © 2012 Johnston Publishing Ltd (19/03/12)

    Concern at shortage of MS nurses in Wales

    MS Nurses A charity says it is concerned about a shortage of specialist nurses for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Wales.

    MS Society Cymru said there are 13 specialist nurses in Wales - but only one of those is in north Wales and there are none in Powys.

    It comes as the first pill for the neurological condition was recommended for UK use by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

    The Welsh Government said it is working to improve MS services.

    MS Society Cymru said there are around 4,000 people in Wales with MS, which is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.

    But there is just one specialist multiple sclerosis (MS) nurse per 308 sufferers, according to MS Society Cymru.

    'Postcode lottery'

    Judy Rees, who is director of the charity, said she was "concerned" about a "postcode lottery" for provision.

    "We're particularly short of MS specialist nurses in some parts of the country," she said.

    "For example in north Wales we only have one where the population suggests we would need two or three and in Powys we don't have any dedicated MS specialist nurses.

    "And they're the people really who provide the gateway for people with MS and the few people who really understand what people with MS are going through."

    She said the charity would also be pushing for all health boards in Wales to use the newly recommended drug Fingolimod, which is the first daily pill for people with MS.

    It would be of use to some but not all sufferers and would offer an alternative to the current treatments of injections and hospital infusions.

    Ms Rees said it was a "major step forward for people with MS" and would reduce the severity of relapses or attacks of the condition and the time between them.

    She said the pill costs £20,000 per person per year - but that it would be "£20,000 very well spent for somebody with MS".

    "[The cost] actually compares very well with other treatments and of course it's the savings you get for people who would otherwise be admitted to hospital," she added.

    "And, of course, the quality of life is vastly improved."

    Improving services

    MS is the most common neurological condition affecting young adults and around 100,000 people in the UK have it.

    It can occur at any age but is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 - and women are almost twice as likely to develop MS as men

    Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form, affecting 80% of people.

    The new pill is more than twice as effective at reducing relapses as a standard interferon injection for people with RRMS.

    A Welsh Government spokesman said work was under way to improve services for people with neurological conditions.

    "Specialist nurses form an integral and important part of health services," he added.

    "It is for individual health boards to ensure they have the correct skill mix and staff levels to support people who suffer with multiple sclerosis."

    Source: BBC News © British Broadcasting Corporation 2012 (18/03/12)

    Nurse-led MS services are a 'win-win', MPs told

    MS NurseNeurology experts have praised a nurse-led multiple sclerosis service to an influential MPs committee, and called for stronger clinical leadership in the Department of Health.

    The remarks were made yesterday in a session of the Commons’ public accounts committee, which is currently investigating NHS neurology services.

    Dr Steve Pollock, lead clinician for neurosciences in East Kent and clinical acute care advisor for the South East Coast strategic health authority, gave evidence to the committee.

    Speaking of his experience in East Kent, he said: “We demonstrated that if you had MS nurses… you could reduce admissions, reduce bed days and free up outpatient time. It was a win-win situation.”

    Dr Pollock added: “We were able to design a service not around the neurologist, but around the MS nurse. It was clear that [where MS nurses were put in]… the admissions dropped – the MS nurses were doing it better than we were.”

    MS patients in East Kent were now assigned an MS nurse who became their “navigator” through the health service, he told MPs.

    Steve Ford, chief executive of the charity Parkinson’s UK, told the committee he wanted to see national level leadership on improving neurology services, such as a national clinical director or “tsar”.

    NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson also appeared before the committee. Although he did not commit to appointing a lead clinician for neurology, Sir David acknowledged the success that the Department of Health’s “cancer tsar” professor Mike Richards had achieved in training and supporting local clinicians.

    The session was held a day after the Neurological Alliance warned that the UK was facing a “neurology timebomb”. The number of patients with neurological conditions was set to rise sharply over the next decade, but services were still “haphazard”, it said.

    A National Audit Office report on neurology, published shortly before Christmas, found that services had got worse over the past five years despite receiving a 38 per cent funding increase.

    Source: Nursing Copyright © 2012 Emap Ltd (20/01/12)

    Multiple Sclerosis nurse for the Western Isles

    MS NursesA nurse dedicated to providing care to multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is to be appointed on the Western Isles.

    The MS Society has agreed to fund the post for nine months on the understanding NHS Western Isles will continue to finance it.

    NHS Western Isles had tried unsuccessfully to secure funding for the nurse from the Scottish government.

    The MS Society said the appointment would mean there was a nurse on every health board in Scotland.

    Source: BBC News © British Broadcasting Corporation 2011 (18/07/11)

    Call to protect MS nurses who save NHS cash

    NHS LogoIn times of financial austerity the government has, understandably, spared few things from scrutiny or review. Cuts need to be made and it would be foolish to argue otherwise. But what about when the axe falls on services that actually save the NHS money?

    Such is the case with MS nurses in the UK. Studies have suggested that the UK's some 200 nurses, though small in number, save the NHS money by administering treatment for people with MS in the home, as opposed to a hospital setting. In cases where people suffer debilitating relapses, this saving could be as high as around £1,800 per course of treatment. There are 100,000 people with MS in the UK, the vast majority of whom will experience relapses at some point … that's a big saving.

    Costs aside, it's a worrying picture for people affected by MS – a lifelong condition which, for many, is characterised by chronic relapses resulting in problems with mobility, eyesight, bladder control and severe fatigue. The MS Society is launching a report which reveals the worrying cost to people living with MS who, without their specialist nurse, fear they would struggle to cope.

    91% people with MS surveyed reported that their nurse is their first point of contact when they have questions about their health. Day-to-day, their nurse administers treatments, provides information, offers support to carers and acts as the gateway to other vital specialists like continence advisors, counsellors and physiotherapists. Anyone who has experience personally, or within the family, will know what a lifeline this coordinated support can be. It is one thing to live with a debilitating condition, quite another to navigate the NHS.

    It is tribute indeed to these overstretched nurses that 89% of people said they felt comfortable contacting their nurse with even the smallest of problems. That's because MS nurses bridge a gap in their care. Neurologists are knowledgeable without doubt, but would be the first to say that they are too busy to deal with the daily lottery of symptoms that people with MS experience. GPs themselves often rely on the skills and knowledge of MS nurses to treat their patients.

    Are we really at a point where we are prepared to lose this excellent and cost-effective service? Do we want to force people with MS to become more dependent on hard-pressed hospitals or other state-provided services? Three quarters of people with MS believe their nurse helps them to retain their independence, to either remain in work or be as active as they can. Take away MS nurses and you take away independence from people with MS.

    A 2010 survey of MS nurses in Europe found the skills of the UK's nurses to be the most advanced in Europe. They are highly trained and highly valued by GPs and neurologists alike.

    People with MS want every opportunity to live a full life, that's why the MS Society will continue to campaign to keep this vital service running.

    MS nurses may be specialist in name, but for their patients they are the essential armour in the often daily battle that is life with MS.

    Source: © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011 (17/03/11)

    Multiple sclerosis: Quality of care should not depend on place of residence
    MS NurseMS experts, European policy-makers, professional and patients’ organisations at the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) today called for benchmark care provision across the EU and for governments and health services to provide improved access to specialized care for patients with multiple sclerosis.

    About 600 decision makers in the fields of health policy, research, science and from patients’ organizations from over 40 countries are currently convening at the European Union’s most important health policy congress in Bad Hofgastein, Austria, to discuss crucial future topics related to Europe’s health care systems.

    500,000 MS patients in Europe – access to care varies widely
    More than 500,000 people in Europe are currently diagnosed with MS, a complex, disabling condition and the most common neurological disease leading to permanent disability in young adults. It affects twice as many women as men and is usually first diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, which has a significant impact on patients’ careers and families.

    This progressive disease puts an enormous burden on the individuals and families affected by it and on European health care systems. Not all people with MS in Europe have sufficient access to adequate care from multidisciplinary teams. Despite the medical advances that have been made in the treatment of MS, including new treatments that will enhance the possibility to control the evolution of the disease, optimum treatment ultimately seems to depend on place of residence.

    Speakers discussed that it is vital, particularly if they are faced with increasing disability, that people with MS can access co-ordinated care from a multi-disciplinary team, skilled and expert in MS. This includes a skilled nurse who can help address emotional and social matters, as well as medical aspects of the disease.

    Significant disparities in MS care across Europe

    According to the recently published MS-NEED European Survey, one in three nurses reported that standards of MS care are not adequately maintained in their country. The study, polling 280 MS nurses in six European countries, found considerable variations in the availability of specialized training and education for MS nurses across Europe. Overall, one in five nurses reported not receiving adequate training and education to support them in their day-to-day role.

    Call for recognition of MS nursing as speciality

    “We have learned with MS that great things happen when the public and private sectors come together. In the UK and certain other EU countries, specialized MS nurses are helping thousands of people with multiple sclerosis live more fulfilling, active lives. This and other success stories should be a benchmark across Europe and for all chronic diseases. To reduce economic burden while increasing quality of life is the ultimate goal,” Christoph Thalheim, Secretary General of the European MS Platform (EMSP), said in Gastein.

    It is obvious from the discussions at the EHFG that the EMSP considers it crucial to recognize nursing in chronic conditions as a special qualification within the health care workforce in Europe and regards Multiple Sclerosis as a frontrunner to find a way to unify, define and benchmark care provision to avoid geographical inequalities in patient care.

    This recommendation was also vigorously backed by MS nurse representatives in Gastein. Amy Perrin Ross, President of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN): “We now have data to show how far MS nurses have come in expanding their role but also to point out further areas of development. A benchmark and standard for training and certification of MS nurses across Europe is needed to ensure equality of health service provisions and to improve the quality of life of MS patients and their families.”

    Source: European Hospital Copyright 1997-2009 by EUROPEAN HOSPITAL Verlags GmbH (07/10/10)

    MS patients fear axe will fall on vital nursing support

    MS NursePatients with multiple sclerosis are fighting for the future of their specialist link nurses whose jobs are feared to be under threat from a hospital review.

    The sufferers say a telephone advice service operated for more than 10 years by the nurses has already been suspended, even though it is seen as a lifeline.

    Instead callers are told to see their GP, who is not a specialist.

    Now their leaders have pleaded with the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS), where the three nurses are based, to reinstate their full service.

    And they have urged individual patients to bombard the complex with letters telling senior officials how much they value the specialist nurses.

    The trust confirmed the review had been set up ahead of the department moving to the area's new £400 million super-hospital now being built at Hartshill.

    But its bosses last night guaranteed the MS nurses would continue to provide expert advice.

    Mike Jones, chairman of the Staffordshire and South Cheshire partnership of the MS Society, said: "These nurses are a lifeline for around 2,000 patients who come from a wide area.

    "They are now very frightened about what is happening. When we ring the helpline now there is a message saying it is under review and we should arrange to see our GPs instead.

    "This is crazy as the beauty of the phone-line is that you can get a quick answer to a question about your illness.

    "That is a godsend if patients are having problems, say, with going on to a new drug for their illness.

    "The nurses still do clinics but the home visits they sometimes made seem to have gone as well."

    Mr Jones, of Kidsgrove, who is also treasurer of the North Staffordshire branch of the society, has written to UHNS chief executive Julie Bridgewater to voice his protests.

    He wrote: "Many GPs are not sufficiently knowledgeable on the condition and their response is to speak to the MS nurse.

    "To suspend this important lifeline to patients is devastating to many. Our members still need to be reviewed be they at home or in a nursing home."

    Retired police officer Peter Addison, whose 62-year-old wife Pat has had MS since 1980, said the nurses were invaluable.

    Mr Addison, aged 65, of Forsbrook, added: "When Pat has relapses we call the helpline and the nurses give quick, expert advice which we depend on. Whatever the results of the review, the thought of losing that lifeline fills us with dread."

    The trust said as part of the move to the new hospital in 2012, its most senior nurses were looking at the roles of various groups of nurses and the numbers and types of staff that would be needed.

    Gill Adamson, pictured, the divisional nurse heading the review, added: "Our MS nurse specialists provide an excellent service and it is certainly my intention that they will continue to provide expert support and advice to their patients.

    "We will be focusing on how we continue to provide that service as efficiently and effectively as we can in our new hospital."

    Source: This Is Staffordshire © Northcliffe Media Ltd (01/10/10)

    European MS nurse survey

    MS NursesThe European MS Nurse Survey is an initiative led by the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) in collaboration with the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN), Rehabilitation in MS (RIMS), and the MS Trust.

    In the following article, MS Trust Specialist Nurse Advisor, Vicki Matthews, discusses the aims of the project and what insight the data emerging out of the survey has to offer.....................

    MS nurses survey highlights european differences
    MS NursesThe first major survey of European Multiple Sclerosis (MS) nurses revealed that nearly one in three nurses (31%) reported that standards of MS care are not adequately maintained in their country.

    The results of this survey will be presented for the first time on Friday 28 May, via a live webcast at the European MS Platform (EMSP) Annual Congress in Stuttgart, Germany.

    The MS-NEED: European Survey polled 280 MS nurses in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK, and found considerable variations in the availability of specialised training and education for MS nurses across Europe that could potentially impact equality of care for people with MS across Europe. Overall, one in five nurses reported that they have not received adequate training and education to support them in their day-to-day role.

    Amy Perrin Ross, President of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN) said, "The findings from MS-NEED: European Survey show how far MS nurses have come in expanding their role but also identify further areas for development. A benchmark and standard for training and certification of MS nurses across Europe is needed to ensure equality of health service provision and to improve the quality of life of MS patients and their families."

    The survey, conducted by the EMSP in cooperation with the IOMSN and Rehabilitation in MS (RIMS), the European network of MS centres, also highlighted variations in clinical practice, access to support services such as rehabilitation, and participation in research.

    "MS nurses provide critical information, support and advice to MS patients and their families throughout the course of this chronic, disabling disease. By providing this specialised, expert service they can make an important impact on the overall quality of life of patients. It is therefore important to recognise MS nursing as a speciality within Europe and to find a way to unify, define and benchmark care provision to avoid geographical inequalities in patient care" said Professor Hans-Peter Hartung (Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine University, Germany).

    Hear the results of MS-NEED: European Survey for the first time and the EMSP, IOMSN and RIMS recommendations for action on a European and national level by logging onto the MS-NEED: European Survey live, interactive webcast on Friday, 28 May, at 12:30 CET using the information below:

    Please click on the website link:

    The webcast provides you with a unique opportunity to learn about the data and ask questions, in real-time, from leading global nurse thought leaders.

    What is MS?

    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex, chronic, disabling disease. It affects twice as many women as men, and is usually first diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, at a critical stage in adult life with often considerable family and work responsibilities. To date, no cure exists. It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 people with MS in Europe.

    European MS Platform (EMSP) represents their interests at the European level, working with the European bodies on behalf of its 33 national member organisations to achieve its goals of high quality & equitable treatment and support for all citizens suffering from MS.

    The MS-NEED: European Survey was conducted by Adelphi International Research and was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Pharma AG.

    Source: PR Newswire (26/05/10)

    Ward duties put specialist nurse roles at risk

    MS NursesTrusts that send clinical nurse specialists back to the wards could be putting the future of the clinical nurse specialist role at risk, Nursing Times had been told.

    Last week an investigation by Nursing Times revealed hospital trusts across England were requiring clinical nurse specialists to undertake general ward duties outside of their specialist role.

    A similar pattern is emerging in Scotland, where NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde now requires clinical nurse specialists to work one day a week on acute wards.

    The move has sparked concern from nurse union leaders, who say it creates “real issues” about the role of the clinical nurse specialist and nurses’ career prospects.

    Royal College of Nursing head of policy development and implementation Howard Catton said trusts need to be clear about their rationale for asking nurse specialists to undertake general ward duties.

    “My concern is whether this is being driven by the need for efficiency savings and workforce flexibility, or whether it is being driven by patient need and clinical demand,” he said.

    “There is a concern that nurses may not be as attracted to specialist nursing roles in the future if there is the impression that when times get tough they will be asked to step back from these roles,” he said.

    Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said it was “highly appropriate and highly relevant” that clinical nurse specialists undertook ward duties if the purpose was to maintain clinical skills and help pass on knowledge to others.

    But she said using nurse specialists as an “additional pair of hands” was unacceptable and could lead to the role being undermined.

    “We will lose their clinical expertise because their [specialist] knowledge will become more distant,” she told Nursing Times.

    “In addition to this, they will become frustrated that they are not being given the authority or ability to do the job they have been trained to do and they may vote with their feet,” she said.

    The cost effectiveness of clinical nurse specialists is coming under increasing scrutiny, with many trusts looking closely at the roles in response to budget pressures.

    Independent nurse consultant in rheumatology Sue Oliver told Nursing Times it was vital clinical nurse specialists kept accurate and up to date records of their work so they could prove their worth to directors of nursing and commissioners.

    Source: Nursing Times © 2002-2009 Emap Ltd.(14/05/10)

    Leadership qualities of UK MS nurses highlighted

    MS NursesA major survey of MS nursing across Europe has examined how specialist nurses are thought of in different countries.

    The European MS Nurse Survey sought the views of 280 nurses in the UK and Czech Republic (MS specialist nurses), Germany, Italy, Poland and Finland (neurological nurses who spent time caring for people with MS)

    The preliminary key findings show that the role of the MS specialist nurse varies substantially across Europe with significant differences in the type and level of advice given by the nurse and their treatment related responsibilities.

    MS specialist nurses in the UK had the highest level of autonomy with the most significant opportunity to lead and deliver nurse led services. UK nurses take the lead in symptom management, medication management, and nonmedical prescribing. UK-based MS specialist nurses also have the most comprehensive opportunity for professional development and education with the best supporting networks but have one of the lowest levels of research activity.

    Pam Macfarlane, chief executive of the MS Trust said, "The MS Trust was the organisation that first saw the value of MS Specialist nurses and has championed their role as a key element in helping the individual to manage their condition. We have invested heavily to provide education for the specialist nurses and will continue to campaign for an increased number so that everyone diagnosed with MS can have access to an MS specialist nurse."

    The European MS Nurse Survey is an initiative led by the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) in collaboration with the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN), Rehabilitation in MS (RIMS), and the MS Trust. Full results will be announced at the EMSP meeting in Stuttgart on 28 May.

    Source: MS Trust © 2004-2009 Multiple Sclerosis Trust (07/05/10)

    MS nurse posts possibly under threat

    NHS LogoOnce again MS nurse posts are under threat as easy targets for NHS cutbacks where short term gains outweigh long term benefits.

    A recent survey via the MS Trust website asked 'what is your most valued source of support for your MS?' Along with close family, MS specialist nurses were top of the list.

    In 2001 a unique research project funded by the MS Trust at South Bank University London, demonstrated clearly the benefit of MS specialist nurses both to people with MS and in financial terms to the NHS. The research showed that having an MS specialist nurse in post could generate a net saving of over £64,000 in a year, purely from a reduction in admissions to hospital.

    The MS Trust has campaigned since 1996 for MS specialist nurses. The number has grown from three to around 220, but this is still some 150 short of the number needed to support 100,000 people with MS.

    MS Awareness week, which starts on 26 April will draw attention the challenges of living with MS. MS nurses are a vital part of the support system, therefore the MS Trust will continue to campaign for MS nurses and support those in post, through information and education and by promoting the value of their role wherever possible.

    Source: MS Trust  © 2004-2009 Multiple Sclerosis Trust (13/04/10)

    Specialist nurse role 'critical to care'

    NHS LogoThe Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is calling for every patient with a long-term condition to have access to specialist nursing care.

    It wants guaranteed funding to avoid cutbacks in specialist nurses after the general election.

    It says specialist nurses save money through reduced complications and fewer hospital re-admissions.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced that cancer patients would have access to specialist nurses.

    Specialist nurses focus on particular conditions such as cancer, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

    The RCN says they can deliver savings by enabling patients to be treated at home rather than in hospital and help people manage their condition with less support from their GP.

    It calculates that specialist nurses caring for people with Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy could deliver savings of £220m a year.

    The RCN surveyed nearly 300 specialist nurses and 60 health organisations.

    It found that more than a third of respondents had seen posts cut over the last year and over half fear future cuts.

    The nurses' union says it has "significant concerns" that posts could be lost as funding dries up.

    It says this happened in 2006 when many specialist roles were cut, frozen or downgraded because of hospital deficits.

    In addition to guaranteed NHS funding to prevent cutbacks, it wants the funding of specialist nursing posts which are paid for by voluntary organisations to be underwritten by the NHS.


    Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: "While the temptation may be to cut or downgrade specialist nursing roles, this would be a false economy which would only add to the growing cost of treating long-term conditions.

    "Specialist nurses are a unique lifeline for patients and families, who are unequivocal in saying that the specialist nurse is the key factor in preserving their quality of life."

    Earlier this month, the prime minister announced plans to provide dedicated one-to-one care by specialist nurses for everyone with cancer.

    The Department of Health in England said £20 million has been set aside for the first 12 months of the five-year programme.

    Opposition parties praised the contribution of specialist nurses but questioned how the plan would be delivered.

    Conservative health spokeswoman Anne Milton said: "Specialist nurses have been a fantastic development over the last few decades bringing better outcomes, better quality and saving money.

    "It is time to appreciate what a contribution they can make when money is tight."

    Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: "There is a real danger that the NHS will respond to the financial crisis by taking a slash and burn approach to its essential staff and services that make a real difference to patients with chronic conditions.

    "This is a false economy and will be devastating for patient care."

    Source: BBC News © British Broadcasting Corporation 2010 (27/02/10)

    New nurse for Multiple Sclerosis patients in the Highlands
    NHS Scotland Logo

    Patients in the Highlands with Multiple Sclerosis are to have extra support with a second MS nurse.

    Lindsay Parks will be based at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and join nurse Anne Stewart to deliver specialist care for patients with MS throughout the Highlands.

    Ms Parks said in a statement: "Multiple Sclerosis is the commonest cause of neurological disability in young adults. 

    "It is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 years."

    She added: "The disease follows an unpredictable course so how people are affected can vary from person to person. 

    "More women are affected than men and the prevalence is high in the North of Scotland, at the moment the current estimate suggests 400-500 patients in the Highland area."

    Ms Parks has a background in general medicine and rehabilitation will be working with Ms Stewart who has been an MS nurse in the Highlands for seven years.

    Ms Stewart said: "Lindsay's appointment will enable the service we provide to grow and improve. 

    "We work with and support patients through every stage of their condition through evidence based practice and research and audit, as well as being there to support the family and other health professionals."

    Source: © 2009 (14/05/09)

    SAMS - MS Nurse Contacts - North Staffordshire
    MS Nurse Contacts at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire

    MS Office
    Tel: 01782 555098 (24 Hour Answer Phone - messages can be left)
    Fax: 01782 555235

    Nikki Embrey
    Mob: 07767 846 707 (Please use this if call is more urgent)
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Claire Lowndes
    Mob: 0772 003 8539 (Please use this if call is more urgent)
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Karen Sheldon
    Mob: 07766 525 158 (Please use this if call is more urgent)
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Kate Walker
    Mob: 07884 187 028 (Please use this if call is more urgent)
    E-mail: [email protected]

    MS sufferers get specialist nursing support
    Harrow's first multiple sclerosis specialist nurse has been welcomed to the borough by the Mayor.

    Christine MacManus, who took up the post at the end of last month, met Councillor Janet Cowan when she was a guest at a social event held by the Harrow and District branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    She explained to members the service she offers to people with MS and how and where they could contact her.

    As well as accepting referrals from GPs and social services, she will also see people who approach her directly.

    Her working hours are 8am to 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and 8am to 5.30pm on Fridays, although these days may change.

    To contact her, leave a message on 020 8869 3773 and she will return thecall, although not necessarily on the same day.

    She also does home visits. At present she is based in the physical disability support team at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow.

    Linda Hammond of the local branch of the MSS said: "This is a very valuable service that the nurse offers and the campaign since 2001 for funding to create this post has been worth the wait.

    "We are very lucky to have a specialist nurse, especially in this current climate of cutbacks.

    "So if you have this debilitating disease please make use of this service and get an assessment."

    Source: Harrow Times © Copyright 2001-2007 Newsquest Media Group (07/07/07)

    Multiple sclerosis patients let down
    People with multiple sclerosis are not receiving vital home visits from a specialist nurse, says a support group.

    Housebound patients with the condition are unable to receive vital home visits from a specialist nurse, according to the Newport and Gwent MS Society.

    This is because one of the two MS nurses employed by the Gwent Healthcare Trust has had periods of long-term sickness, the most recent since last October.

    The remaining nurse, Emma Williams, now has to cover the whole area more or less on her own, explained Mrs Morgan.

    "This has meant the opportunities for visiting people at home has virtually come to a standstill.

    People have to go to her so there is a waiting list for people who need visits because they are housebound or bedridden."

    She said there were about 26 people on the waiting list.

    A spokesman for the Trust said: "There have been some recent changes with the management of this service and we are well aware of the problems, we are hopeful that this situation will be resolved as quickly as possible."

    Mrs Morgan was unable to say how many MS patients there were in the Trust area but there were an estimated 100,000 in Britain with the condition.

    "Ideally there should be at least one MS nurse to cover 300 patients. That's the least we would hope for.

    "The people affected by MS in the Gwent Healthcare Trust area have really drawn the short straw.

    "We are just so frustrated. They don't seem to be getting to grips with the problem and sorting things out. They are taking too long to make decisions."

    Mrs Morgan said the specialist nurses, who were partly funded by the MS Society, were important and everyone with MS was entitled to see one.

    She emphasised that Emma Williams and the consultant team were doing a brilliant job. "They are doing their best."

    'Service is vital'

    Jim Cole found out about the Newport and district branch of the MS Society through specialist nurse Emma Williams and there he is able to talk to other people with the condition.

    The 34-year-old married father-of-one was diagnosed last year with MS after suffering sensory problems.

    He was already suffering from diabetes and a stomach condtion when he received the devastating news.

    Former British Gas employee Mr Cole said the consultant was very good and referred him to Emma Williams.

    "That was probably the best meeting I ever had. Emma was so straight-talking."

    She was able to reassure him about any concerns he had and he felt he was able to ask her all the questions he had.

    "I think she's vital," said Mr Cole. "It shocks me that they are not able to provide support to people that are bedridden or housebound.

    "I think that's quite a sorry state because they make such a valuable contribution to people's lives."

    Source: South Wales Argus Privacy Policy © Copyright 2001-2007 Newsquest Media Group. (04/07/07)

    First and Only International Organization Focusing on Nurses Specializing in Multiple Sclerosis Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
    The International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN) kicked off its 10th anniversary with an awards gala in conjunction with the annual meeting of The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), with more than 300 attendees on hand to honor a decade's worth of achievements. The IOMSN, which has more than 1,000 members worldwide, is the first and only international organization focused solely on the needs and goals of professional nurses around the world who care for people with multiple sclerosis.

    The IOMSN is a specialised branch of nursing in multiple sclerosis (MS) incorporating skills and knowledge of MS, symptomatic management and neurorehabilitation. Over the past ten years, the organization has established standards of nursing care in MS, supported MS nursing research, educated the healthcare community about MS, and disseminated this knowledge throughout the world.

    "The growth of the IOMSN is the result of hard work by visionary MS leaders, who understand that people with this chronic, neurodegenerative disease have unique health needs," said Diane Lowden, N. MSc (A), MSCN, President, IOMSN. "It is important to remember that the more we learn about how to approach MS, the more we can customise care and treatment strategies for people living with the disease."

    MS Nurse Educator Honored

    Patricia M. Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Director of Education at the Rocky Mountain MS Center in Denver, Colorado, was honored at the IOMSN's anniversary gala, with the June Halper Award for Excellence in Nursing in Multiple Sclerosis, in recognition of her achievements as an MS nurse leader and educator. Patricia was one of the first nurse practitioners to specialise in the field of multiple sclerosis. She currently serves as a board member for the IOMSN and the Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis.

    "As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we want to recognise the individuals who have contributed so much to improve the lives of all those affected by multiple sclerosis," said Lowden. "Patricia's passion for helping people living with MS and her love of nursing is evident every day. She tirelessly lends her expertise and wisdom to educating colleagues and the health care community about MS."

    IOMSN Looks Ahead

    One of the IOMSN's key objectives has been to provide professional nurses with the education they need to become MS-certified nurses. To date, the IOMSN has certified nearly 500 nurses worldwide, who work in a variety of capacities.

    Moving forward, the IOMSN hopes to recruit and certify more nurses in MS, establish standards of nursing care in MS, support multiple sclerosis research and continue to educate the health care community about MS.

    "The IOMSN supports nurses in their continuing efforts to offer hope through mentoring, educating, networking and sharing," said Amy Perrin Ross, APRN, MSN, CNRN, MSCN, President-Elect, IOMSN. "We view the next ten years as an opportunity to reach even more nurses and the health care community with the information, education and resources they need to provide the best MS care possible. Based on our success over the last decade, we are optimistic that we can continue to reach new heights," Ross added.

    Source: The International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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