Improving outcomes for people with MS

April 29th 2016 ...in category Commissioning Excellence

This MS Awareness Week the MS Trust is highlighting the need for fair and equitable services for people with MS following their survey of 2000 people which shows there is a growing disparity in the care on offer.

We couldn’t agree more – everyone with MS should have access to good services to support them to stay as well as possible.

To understand how this can be achieved we collaborated with the MS Trust to publish a report last year about the number of people with MS who are admitted to hospital each year and the reasons why.

It has now been included in Public Health England’s neurology data catalogue as a key piece of neurology intelligence to help support commissioners when planning services for people with neurological conditions.

Ms Infog Blog 1

The report highlighted that nearly 15,000 people with MS in England were admitted to hospital as an emergency in 2013/14 with costs to the NHS totalling £43 million. That’s around 17% of everyone with MS. Of the 23,700 emergency admissions, 8700 were repeat admissions – where the person with MS was admitted for a second or even third or more time in the same year.

The reasons for these emergency admissions are a major cause of concern – hospital admissions data show that the most common reasons were bladder and bowel issues and respiratory infections.

Ms Infog Blog 2

Emergency admissions costs in 2013/14 in relation to respiratory issues alone totalled in excess of £5.5 million for people with MS, and bladder and bowel issues came to £11 million.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are of particular interest because they were the single biggest reason for people with MS being admitted as an emergency yet are highly amenable to prevention. We found that UTIs accounted for 14% of all emergency admissions of people with MS in 2013/14, costing £2,556 per admission and totalling £8.8 million altogether across England.

Ms Infog Blog 3

Realistically many of these emergencies could be prevented if services were set up with a greater emphasis on preventative care which could more effectively anticipate and avert a crisis.

This could be achieved by identifying at-risk patients and addressing the issues before they become a more serious issue. MS nurse specialists are ideally placed to identify this group of patients and provide proactive care, also involving GPs, neurologists, allied health professionals and community services.

The MS Trust GEMSS project has identified that many MS specialist nurses have unsustainable caseloads, and is therefore calling on the NHS to ensure that everyone with MS has access to an MS nurse with a manageable caseload who can help to identify potential problems which could lead to a hospital admission and coordinate care which would prevent them.

We know from speaking to people with MS that ready access to an MS specialist nurse makes a huge difference to patient wellbeing, and crucially helps keep them well and out of hospital.

Download “Measuring the burden of hospitalisation in multiple sclerosis: A cross-sectional analysis of the English Hospital Episode Statistics database 2009-2014” here

About the Author


April 29th 2016
...in category Commissioning Excellence

Commissioning Excellence

As one of NHS England’s recognised niche specialist commissioning support providers, we offer a full range services to assist you in improving patient outcomes. Our experience covers all long term conditions, with a particular specialism in the field of neurology.

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Improving outcomes for people with MS

Improving outcomes for people with MS

This MS Awareness Week the MS Trust is highlighting the need for fair and equitable services for people with MS following their survey of 2000 people which shows there is a growing disparity in the care on offer.

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