Concerns have been raised about care for patients with one of the most common neurological conditions after the only specialist consultant at a Yorkshire NHS trust retired without a replacement.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital, are now without a specialist consultant and purely under the care of specialist MS nurses.
The MS Society said access to an MS specialist neurologist was “essential” for people with MS to get the treatment and care they need - and without one, treatment could be delayed.
Director of external affairs, Genevieve Edwards, said: “Without access to specialists, people with MS are less likely to be able to effectively manage this unpredictable condition, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. It means they could experience delays in starting or making decisions about treatment. That is concerning given we know how important early treatment is in slowing down the damage that MS causes.
“We are working locally and with the Trust to ensure that people with MS continue to get the care they need while a specialist MS consultant is recruited.
“Our research shows that across the UK, access to MS specialists is a postcode lottery, with as many as one in ten people not being able to access a neurologist when they need to.”
There is no cure for MS, but treatments can help to manage the condition and symptoms. In MS, the coating the protects your nerves is damaged, causing symptoms including vision problems, mobility issues and fatigue.
Deputy director of operations for the division of medicine, at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals, Kirsty Stead, said: “We are currently in the process of recruiting a specialist MS consultant to join our neurology team at the Trust following the retirement of our consultant colleague.
“We continue to have a specialist nurse service at the Trust and are reviewing the needs of each patient in order to ensure they receive safe and appropriate care during this period.”