SW AHSN to build network to improve multiple sclerosis care

The South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) is set to bring together health and social care leaders across the South West to form a network that will explore ways to improve care for people with multiple sclerosis.
Leaders in health and social care from across Devon and Cornwall will attend the SW AHSN HQ in Exeter on September 18 to work out the next steps of a regional project leading the way in developing new models for care for Multiple sclerosis and related diseases (MSRD).
MSRD often has a dramatic impact on the people it affects; it can limit people’s ability to walk and use their upper limbs, while affecting cognitive function and other senses.  As a consequence it has significant implications for their ability to live and work independently.
While there is an increasing number of treatments for MSRD available, they are often costly, complex to deliver and don’t necessarily prevent progression of the group of other diseases. As a result, whilst the total number of people with MSRD might be lower than those with other conditions, it has a major impact on budget and capacity across the health and social care systems.
Like most services, the teams supporting people with MSRD face challenges in terms of increasing demand on limited resources, scarce specialist capacity, and increasingly complex treatment and diagnosis pathways. Many people involved in these services are aware that there is an undesirable difference across local centres between services, diagnosis, treatments, and access to support.
Rather than accept the status quo and hope services don’t fall over, MSRD clinical teams working in the are collaborating. They are exploring how working regionally, as a networked service, can help. Their unique and innovative approach for MSRD has already attracted external secured funding for a project manager to lead the initiative, and has enabled the identification of a variety of areas of potential focus moving forward. These areas place particular attention on reducing variation, enhancing quality of care, and making services across the region more resilient.
The event on September 18 will be attended by people across the health care system in the South West, including from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and the MS Society. It will enable a wider dialogue about the potential impact of the project, narrowing areas of focus and prioritising between short and long-term action plans. When combined these will lead to a networked service across the region.
If you are involved in multiple sclerosis care and are interested in attending, please see the event listing for more information. Please note the event is limited in capacity.
If you have any questions or you would like to check if your organisation is represented, please contact Zoe.Robinson@swahsn.com for more information.

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