The Multiple Sclerosis Society Cymru have raised concerns over a shortage of specialist MS nurses in some areas of Wales.
They indicate that there are 13 specialist MS nurses in Wales, but only one was present in North Wales and none in Powys.
However, there are approximately 4,000 people in Wales who suffer from MS. As such, there is only 1 nurse per 308 suffers and the charity are concerned about a ‘postcode lottery’ for service provision.
MS is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK. Women are twice as likely to develop the condition than men and about 80% of sufferers have the Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) form.
A new drug called Fingolimod has been introduced as an alternative treatment to the current series of injections and hospital infusions used to treat the condition. Whilst the drug is twice as effective at reducing relapses of RRMS, it doesn’t benefit all sufferers of the condition.
The charity are calling for all health boards in Wales to to adopt the use of the new drug. At the same time, they point out that MS nurses are the people who really understand the disease and they are ‘people really who provide the gateway for people with MS.’
A spokesperson for the Welsh government indicated that they were working on improving MS services. They added: “It is for individual health boards to ensure they have the correct skill mix and staff levels to support people who suffer with multiple sclerosis.”