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More focus on MS socio-economic support needed

2nd April 2007

Socio-economic support is a top priority for MS sufferers, according to a recent survey.

Researchers from King's College London spoke to 445 MS patients about the care they receive and how well it met their requirements.

Medical treatment was found to be the top priority, along with socio-economic support, defined as household adaptations, transport provision and re-housing, along with employment assistance.

The survey found that as MS reaches a more severe level in patients, the importance of socio-economic assistance increased.

In the area of medical care provision, respondents called for a greater understanding of MS among healthcare professionals and better accessibility to information about treatments.

Dr Angus Forbes, lead researcher, said: "Our survey, which was funded by the MS Society for Great Britain, shows very clearly that people's needs change as their MS develops.

"Since our research was carried out, the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has produced MS care guidelines which seem to echo the aspirations expressed by the MS patients who took part in our study.

"But a 2006 study suggested that little had changed, with few health authorities implementing the guidelines."

Dr Forbes went on to suggest the development of an MS needs assessment tool to ensure healthcare meets the needs of sufferers by indicating what care they were receiving and which areas were lacking.