More MS news articles for July 2002

Care services and benefits system failing people with MS

9 July 2002

Social care services and the benefits system are failing people with fluctuating conditions which sometimes have invisible symptoms, says a report commissioned by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The report "Square Pegs, Round Holes" was launched today (Tuesday 9 July 2002) at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary MS Group at Westminster. Its findings are based on a survey of more than 1,200 people with MS and their carers in England. Surveys conducted in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland show similar findings.

Society chief executive Mike O'Donovan, said, "The most worrying thing we have found in both social care and benefits is a lack of flexibility or ability to adapt to changes in someone's condition. All too often this means changing care needs are not being met or appropriate benefits given. We are asking the Government to look into this urgently".

Among the report's main findings were:

The report reveals some areas suffering a real shortage of occupational therapists, who play an important
role in assessment for certain services, and MS nurses.

Said Mr O'Donovan, "The MS Society is taking a lead in helping to develop a skilled multi-disciplinary approach to health and social care for people with MS and is already providing substantial funding for professional posts and training.

"This report shows that much more needs to be done. In particular, GPs and DLA assessors need training in the changing nature of MS to avoid people being given unsuitable care packages. We are asking the Government to take our findings on board and to work with us to develop high quality standards of care for everybody affected by MS".

The survey was conducted by NFO BJM. Copies are available from the Policy and Campaigns Team, MS Society, MS National Centre, 372 Edgware Road, Staples Corner, London NW2 6ND.