- Advertisement -
Tuesday, 27 October 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Neurological rehab services must resume or MS patients will deteriorate

- Advertisement -

HEALTHCARE professionals in England are warning that neurological rehabilitation services must be prioritised to restart, as people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel the impact of months without essential therapies.

A survey by the MS Society and MS Trust found seven in ten MS healthcare professionals (70%) believe the MS service they work in, or with, is not currently able to meet patients’ needs to the extent it was pre-pandemic. Nearly three quarters (73%) think neurological rehabilitation services have been impacted by the pandemic, with appointments having been either limited, delayed or cancelled – 76% said resuming these vital services back to pre-COVID-19 capacity must be a priority.

More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and data from the UK MS Register shows almost a third have been struggling to stay physically active during the pandemic, with many people shielding. Without rehabilitation therapies such as exercise, physiotherapy and emotional support, the ability of people with MS to maintain or improve their physical functioning and quality of life is significantly limited.

Behnaz Pourafshari, 36, is a software developer from London who has lived with the relapsing form of MS since 2012. She experiences mobility difficulties in her leg and hand, as well as cognition problems. Before the pandemic, Behnaz attended regular Pilates and gym classes, ran 5k every week and loved hiking. Now shielding, she’s struggling to cope with her inactive lifestyle and more than ever needs support from a physiotherapist – something she’d already been waiting months for.

Behnaz said:

“Overnight I’d gone from being such an active person to only being able to walk the dog once a morning. I did get a virtual physiotherapy appointment in April, but after just two sessions – in which we didn’t talk about the help I needed for my weak left leg or right hand – I was told I needed to be referred to somebody else, and I haven’t heard anything since.

“I really don’t want to lose my abilities as keeping mobile means absolutely everything to me. But my leg feels weaker and just last week it gave way when I was walking the dog. Luckily the headphones I was wearing saved my head from the fall, but I had to call my husband as I cut my hands and knees. I won’t let that incident stop me trying as being so inactive has had a huge impact on my mental health – I could really just do with some expert help.”

Alongside workforce redeployment, MS healthcare professionals identified a number of ongoing challenges MS services are facing in getting back to pre-COVID capacity safely. Three in four (75%) said a backlog of patients was a challenge, more than three in five (66%) said a lack of physical space to deliver care safely was problematic, while three in five (60%) said patients being reluctant to attend appointments was having an impact.

Furthermore, a recent survey by the Neurological Alliance found people living with neurological conditions, including MS, are also experiencing delays to their medical appointments. More than seven in ten (72%) said one or more of their NHS appointments had been delayed, while nearly one in four (23%) had experienced difficulty in obtaining their regular medication.

Fredi Cavander-Attwood, Policy Manager at the MS Society, said:

“More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and many rely on rehabilitation to manage their chronic symptoms, stay active and maintain their independence. Such services, especially face-to-face care, have understandably been limited or cancelled to protect people and free up NHS capacity during the pandemic. But the needs of people with MS have not disappeared and we fear the long-term impact on their health and wellbeing.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and the NHS needs to show the same leadership it has with cancer and fertility services, by helping local services and professionals overcome the challenges they face in safely resuming these vital therapies. The Government must also ensure when planning for a second wave of the pandemic, that it factors in protection for essential rehabilitation services.”

Megan Roberts, Head of Health Professionals Programmes at the MS Trust, said:

“We’re hearing first-hand from people with MS who feel that their health and wellbeing has deteriorated during the pandemic because they have been unable to access the life-changing rehabilitation services they rely on. Healthcare professionals are going above and beyond to support people with MS in these uncertain times, but they are facing huge challenges to meet the needs of the MS community and get services back to pre-COVID capacity. We stand with the MS Society in urging the NHS to address the current gaps in treatment, care and support and ensure nobody is left to face MS alone.”

Sign up to receive full FREE access to charity news and special sector offers.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

1,373FansLike
1,834FollowersFollow
30,218FollowersFollow
1,200SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

VIDEO | National Poppy Appeals declare a state of emergency

ONE of the UK's most symbolic fundraising initiatives, the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and the Scottish Poppy Appeal is facing an unprecedented crisis...

The Duke of Cambridge lays foundation stone for state-of-the-art cancer research and treatment facility

THE Duke of Cambridge today attended a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of building works for The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s Oak...
- Advertisement -

Employment News

Samaritans announces the appointment of new CEO, Julie Bentley

THE leading suicide prevention charity in the UK and ROI has announced that Julie Bentley has been appointed as its new CEO. Julie joins Samaritans...

Kate Cooper-Owen joins Comic Relief’s top team as Creative Director

COMIC Relief has announced another exciting new appointment to their top team with Kate Cooper-Owen set to join as Creative Director. Kate will play a...

Special Olympics GB welcomes two new faces to the team

SPECIAL Olympics GB is delighted to announce the appointment of Pete Rhodes and Ben Miller to the organisation with immediate effect. Pete Rhodes takes on...

Related News

Cancer fundraiser honoured as charity ‘Hospital Hero’

LAST week, local hospital charity Leeds Cares launched their new fundraising initiative, ‘Leeds Cares Hospital Heroes’ encouraging supporters to carry out long-term fundraising to...

Arkwright Engineering Scholarship Programme launches 2021 applications to inspire future engineering talent

CHILDREN'S education charity, The Smallpeice Trust, is calling for students and schools to sign up to its highly respected engineering scholarship programme, The Arkwright...

Challenge to young people to deliver change in their communities

VOLUNTEERING charity TimeBank will work with Action for Stammering Children (ASC) on a new project for young people that will see them plan, design...

Cure Leukaemia named as first ever Official Charity Partner of The Tour de France in the UK

NATIONAL blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia has been named as the first-ever Official Charity Partner of the Tour de France in the UK. This...

Community group digs deep to tackle food poverty

A community organisation which turns disused open spaces in Islington into vegetable plots is expanding its reach – to tackle soaring levels of food...
- Advertisement -
X