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More help pledge for MS sufferers

PUBLISHED: 11:19 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:59 03 July 2010

PEOPLE with multiple sclerosis are being promised improvements following a major review of services in Norfolk.

More than 800 people with multiple sclerosis in the county have taken part in the project over the past 18 months.

PEOPLE with multiple sclerosis are being promised improvements following a major review of services in Norfolk.

More than 800 people with multiple sclerosis in the county have taken part in the project over the past 18 months. MS is the most common neurological condition affecting young adults and is more common than average in Norfolk, with at least 1,500 people with the condition and 50-60 people diagnosed each year.

Now NHS Norfolk has agreed to focus on neurological conditions including MS in its work this year. A “neurological alliance” is being set up bringing together health and social care professionals, charities and patients and also covering other neurological conditions. A proposal for redesigned services and a new MS pathway has also been submitted to NHS Yarmouth and Waveney. Findings of the project will also be put into the development of a planned new neurological unit at Colney on the outskirts of Norwich.

The review found there have been some improvements in services. But some people felt they had not received adequate support and information when and after they were diagnosed. More than half had to give up work within five years of diagnosis, and wanted more help to restart work or stay in work. Some 55pc said they had no advice on managing their condition.

Other recommendations were more community rehabilitation, more regular reviews with multi-disciplinary teams and “one-stop shops” where people with MS can access services. More support is also needed for carers, with 28pc saying they do not feel supported at all.

Jane Webster, NHS Norfolk's commissioning manager for long term conditions, said: “This has been a key piece of work and these recommendations give us a clear direction for the commissioning of services in the future.”

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