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The MS Society wants equal access for all to treatment
A survey of more than 10,000 people with the condition found there were postcode variations, with people in Northern Ireland twice as likely as those in Wales to be taking drug therapy.
Six out of 10 eligible people with MS are not receiving “disease-modifying treatments.
Of those who were well-informed, saying they had sufficient information on treatments, 59% were taking disease-modifying treatments, compared with 27% of those who felt they did not know enough about them.
People who had access to a specialist MS neurologist or nurse were more likely to be on treatments.
In Europe, only Poland and Romania have a lower prescription rate for MS drugs than the UK compared to 27 European Countries.
These findings worryingly suggest that the likelihood of someone receiving a life-changing treatment is often based on luck – like where they live or how helpful their healthcare professional is – rather than their genuine clinical need,
The report also found that half of those who are struggling to make ends meet and need social care support are unable to access it.
• A quarter of people with MS who are of working age are employed, compared to three quarters of the wider UK population.
• Only 25 per cent of unemployed people with MS who want support to find paid employment are able to get it.
• Access to support to find, and hold on to, paid employment varies considerably across the UK. People in Scotland and Wales, who feel they need it, receive notably less support.
Those with a carer are 11 per cent more likely to need additional social care but are four per cent less likely to receive it.