The NHS should establish an NHS neurological conditions mental health pathway to support patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), six charities have told a health minister.
The call on the Government set out the need for a new mental health training package for the healthcare professionals working with people with MS.
It also included a call for annual MS review appointments to cover a person’s mental health and cognitive needs.
The MS charities this week (11 July) presented their set of joint policy recommendations for change to minister of state for disabled people, health and work, Tom Pursglove.
It comes after a report from the MS Trust which found that 94% of patients with MS said their MS has affected their mental health, while more than 56% reported moderate to severe mental health problems.
More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK.
David Martin, chief executive of the MS Trust, said: ‘Millions of pounds and tens of thousands of hours are being wasted through the lack of specialist support at critical points in the care pathway.
‘Through the MS Trust’s programmes, which place MS Nurses and Advanced MS Champions directly into the NHS, we are demonstrating a tangible and cost-effective way to make a difference.
‘This approach is not only saving time and money, but most importantly empowering and supporting MS patients earlier. Prioritising this vital care and early diagnosis will have a significant positive impact on the mental health of those living with MS, as well as enabling treatment for symptoms to commence at a much earlier stage, resulting in huge physical health benefits.’
The six charities include MS Society, MS Trust, Overcoming MS, Shift.ms, MS-UK, and Neuro Therapy Network.