31 July 2002
The Multiple Sclerosis Society has moved quickly to help people get the new disease-modifying drugs the Government has agreed to fund on the NHS.
Seventeen specialist nurse appointments have been approved under the
'fast-track' scheme to provide partnership
funding for nurses at MS centres across the UK which will assess patients, prescribe treatment and monitor progress. Priority has been given to those of the specialist centres which currently do not have an MS nurse.
The scheme, providing funding of around £800,000, is jointly funded by the MS Society and three of the drugs' manufacturers, Biogen and Serono, which make beta interferons, and Teva (with whom Aventis Pharma is in partnership) which makes glatiramer acetate. The NHS is expected to be a funding partner but the scheme offers up to 100% first year salary costs where no funds are available.
Society chief executive, Mike O'Donovan, said today (Wednesday 31 July 2002), "There is a big job to be done in assessing all those people whom neurologists believe could benefit from the drugs and then monitoring their progress. The fast-track scheme is a major factor in making that happen."
The scheme builds on the MS Society's MS Nurse Fund, which has already helped establish more than 30 specialist nursing posts. Nurses, who must be employed by the NHS, are offered an induction programme funded by the Society and delivered by another charity, the MS Trust.
The 'fast track' nurse posts approved are at:
* Subject to the appointment of a neurologist