How good is your MS centre?

How to we measure quality in MS care? #MSBlog #MSResearch

“I am in Canada on a lecture tour and have seen a number of MS centers in the last 5 days; London (Ontario), Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax and tomorrow Montreal. I am impressed. They are well staffed and seem to have much more resource than we do in the NHS. They are also very collaborative and share a lot. They all focus on quality. And some centres are measuring metrics that would allow one to compare centres with each other. Canadian MSers have it better than most.”

“Quality in healthcare, measuring it and sharing the data is an important change agent. What we need to do is define it and measure and it see what happens. This is something we are trying to do in within the UCLP network in London. Some of the figures are surprising; it is truly amazing to see the wide variation in metrics that relate to quality of care, for example hospital admission rates for MSers and length of stay. This topic is close to my heart and something we need to focus on more closely if we have any chance of getting the MS community to accept and adopt the zero tolerance strategy and treat-2-target of NEDA.”

“If you have the time you will find the following TED talk interesting.”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • Weird, huh? While Canada has the best MS care in the world, Britain has the worst in western Europe.

    Both nations have high incidence of MS. Both nations have free health care at the point of delivery. Both territories are socialist states. Therefore, why the discrepancies? Is it a cultural issue? What are they doing right that we're doing wrong? Answers, please.

    • Why do Americans use a term like socialist state when they clearly do not understand what the hell it means ?

      The UK and Canada have economies based on capitalism, and in the UK we have next to no nationalised industries. Free at point of delivery healthcare does not make a country socialist anymore than offering a free at point of delivery education system (which I believe the US has) does.

      Wikipedia can provide an easy to read article on what a socialist state is and isn't

  • Should not Multiple Sclerosis become a ICHOM working group?

    Multiple Sclerosis needs Outcomes that matter to patients.

  • Canada has a younger population than the UK and growing tax revenues from Alberta oil. They have more per capita tax going into the system and less (at present) medical / social spend on the elderly.

    I am a Brit living in the UK but married to a Canadian. We were in Ontario this summer and I had a nasty reaction to a bee sting so we went to the town's (close to London Ontario) shiny new hospital. I was assessed by a triage nurse, seen by a doctor and given a scrip for antibiotics within 40 minutes of walking through the door. It's great as a patient but I did wonder if the taxpayers were getting best value for money.

  • Thank you for the TED video, quality leads to lower health cost. Procedures and medications that are not optimal lead to further complications and higher cost. Besides using the most effective treatments the centres should stress compliance and healthy lifestyles that prevent secondary health problems. I wonder how many MS patients are not compliant because they feel their disease is under control?

  • I'm happy that you got a good impression of the MS Centres in Canada, Dr. Giovannoni. I'm curious to know whether or not your spoke to any end users, i.e., patients with MS. As one of those MSers in Vancouver, I have to say that our experiences vary a great deal. The waitlists to be seen are long and the communication systems are archaic and convoluted. Fortunately for me, my neurologist is exceptional, and I have figured out how to work around the commuication barriers. It helps that I used to work in the health care system so I know how it works — or doesn't work.

    • As a MSer in Vancouver I very much agree with this comment….communication systems are archaic and convoluted. Sometimes I think there is a plot to get at the dfisabled! Form filling, appointment making etc. all seem to be more inefficient for the handicapped.

By Prof G



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