Monday, 19 April, 2004
Four multiple sclerosis (MS) nurses are needed to combat a shortage of cover in Wales, according to the MS Society.
Claire Norman, the organisation's Chairman for Wales, revealed there are currently no MS nurses in mid Wales, and only one in north Wales.
Specialist nurses help multiple sclerosis sufferers cope with their condition, giving treatment, information and advice.
But a lack of nurses in Wales means people are having to travel across the border to receive assistance.
"There are very specific needs for people with MS, so the nurses have to have very intimate knowledge of their condition," said Ms Norman.
"When I was diagnosed nine years ago, there weren't any MS nurses in post, so I had to go out go out and find out everything I needed for myself."
There are now nine-and-a-half nurses in place across Wales - all but one are in south Wales, working from the two prescribing centres in Swansea and Cardiff.
Ms Norman said that having someone to give specific information and advice had been a great help.
She said sufferers in north and mid Wales were isolated, and did not have access to services they needed.
"We probably need four more nurses in those areas," she said.
"Some people do travel to Shrewsbury and Cheshire but, if you are having a relapse or your symptoms are deteriorating, it is difficult to travel."
The MS Society, which has around 2,000 members, has 22 branches working throughout Wales all supported by unpaid volunteers.
The organisation aims to establish a National Centre for Wales and also has plans for a mobile information centre servicing the whole of Wales.
Monday marks the start of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness week.
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