NHS Lanarkshire has recruited two MS specialist nurses, plus a part-time neurology nurse, to support the 1,200 MS patients in Lanarkshire.
The new nurses, who will begin work later this month, were recruited with the assistance of the MS Trust, a UK charity which works to make sure that people with MS get the best possible care.
As part of its nationwide Specialist Nurse Programme, the MS Trust will be part-funding one of the nurses for 15 months and supporting the whole team to make even more of a difference for people affected by MS in Lanarkshire.
Maria Docherty, nurse director of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Thanks to funding and support from the MS Trust, we were able to appoint two new nurses when previously we had one.
“NHS Lanarkshire will continue to fund the additional nurse on a permanent basis after the first 15 months. This will mean we will be able to deliver an improved service for local people affected by MS.”
MS specialist nurses are vital for people living with MS. They can help them adjust to diagnosis, consider complicated treatment options, manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, condition.
Following the departure of the previous MS nurse last spring, clinical and managerial staff at NHS Lanarkshire worked together with the MS Trust to review the MS service and to ensure there was minimal impact on patient care and treatment.
With support from NHS Great Glasgow and Clyde Neurology Services, they put in place two nurse practitioners to work jointly with NHS Lanarkshire clinicians to support people with MS and their families.
Service manager Karen Maclure said: “Since April we have carried out a thorough review of the MS specialist nursing service incorporating feedback the MS Trust helped us get from service users. Responding to this feedback, our new service will include increased home visits and telephone support. We will also ensure that people with MS and their families have more opportunities to get the information, education and support they need.”
In addition to the two new MS specialist nurses, the part-time neurology specialist nurse will work across the MS and Parkinson’s services.
Karen added: “We are working with the consultants of both services to create a job plan for this role to be responsive to the demands on both services.”