Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, met with representatives of the MS Society in Parliament to put pressure on the Government to address the shortages in vital neurology services.
Tony said, “More than 130,000 people live with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the UK. It damages nerves in your body and makes it harder to do everyday things, like walk, talk, eat and think. The MS Society’s Neurology Now campaign shines a light on the issues people with MS face when trying to access vital neurology services throughout the pandemic.
From key appointments being cancelled or delayed, to healthcare professionals feeling forced to compromise the quality of care they’d usually deliver – it’s clear a plan for neurology is long over-due. MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and people must be able to access essential services and support from the NHS, through every stage of their MS journey.
I’m pleased to support this campaign and will be using my role in Parliament to speak up for people with MS and other neurological conditions.”
Sarah Rawlings, Executive Director of Research and External Affairs at the MS Society, added, “We’re grateful to Tony for attending our Neurology Now parliamentary drop in event, as his support is invaluable.
Despite 1-in-6 people living with a neurological condition in the UK, neurology services have been under-prioritised and stretched for years. The pandemic has pushed these vital services to breaking point, and the healthcare professionals that deliver them simply can’t continue under such strain.
We’re calling on UK Governments to provide enough funding to support the development of national plans to restore and improve neurology services, as well as extra funding to recruit and retain neurology professionals. We need urgent action to make sure everyone with MS has access to the right professionals and treatment, at the right time, across the UK.”
MPs and peers were told about the latest findings from the MS Society’s Neurology Now report, and listened to a number of talks from people living with MS, including Ayad. Ayad – who has recently graduated and lives with progressive MS – spoke about finding it impossible to speak to a consultant or MS nurse team over the COVID-19 pandemic, and how his mobility has since deteriorated.
Earlier that day, Ayad – along with other members of the MS community – delivered an open letter to the Department of Health and Social Care. The letter – which was signed by almost 8000 people – calls for a plan to restore and improve neurology services in England, and build a thriving, sustainable neurology workforce with investment in training.
For more information about the MS Society’s campaign, Neurology Now, click here.