MS Academy Christmas newsletter 2019

18 Dec 2019

Gavin Giovannoni

By Prof Gavin Giovannoni, Academic Director

"Bah! Humbug!" where did 2019 go to? The theory that time passes quicker as you get older is based on the fact that you do fewer novel things and hence have fewer new memories to expand your perception of time. This can’t be said for the MS Academy in 2019. We have done many new and interesting things. Apart from running several MS Academy MasterClasses and seeing a new generation of graduates from the Academy. We continue to encourage our graduates to think out of the box and to challenge the current MS service model. We specifically ask our trainees to focus on the patient and to imagine what a reactive and future MS service should look like.

“If you had MS what would you want from your MS service?”

We want to congratulate this years’ project winners:

MasterClass 8 project award winner

MasterClass 7 project award winner

MasterClass 6 project award winner

MasterClass 5 project award winner

The MS Academy is also expanding our role. We took on and successfully ran a series of MS roadshows across the country and plan to do more of these in the New Year. We held our first MS Academy Preceptorship for neurologists from North Africa and the Middle East and plan to repeat this in the new year. The feedback from the preceptorship was great. It is very rewarding to see that we are having an impact beyond the UK.

The MS Academy is being increasingly acknowledged as the voice of MS HCPs in the UK. We have been fortunate to be able to have several members provide input into NICE appraisals on our behalf. Thank you for your efforts and we will also be represented at the scoping workshop for the next rendition of the ‘NICE guideline: Multiple Sclerosis in Adults’. Our vision for the MS Academy is bold and ambitious; we want to become the official organisation that represents HCPs with an interest in MS. To this end, we are very proud of our ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative.

We held our second Raising the Bar’ meeting in July to address variation in the provision of MS services across the UK. We have put in place five workstreams with a three-year plan to tackle variance. We will be hosting the third meeting in 2020 to review our progress. Our objectives are simple; to improve

  1. the quality of life
  2. access to specialist services and
  3. outcomes for people with MS,
  4. to improve the efficiency of healthcare utilisation of MS services and
  5. increase patient empowerment and activation.

Another output was a proposal to set-up and run a leadership training programme for MS HCPs. The good news is that the Leadership MasterClass has been funded and the first group of leaders are due to start on the course early next year. An important role of the MS Academy is to share best practice and we have had many examples of this during the year:

It is an uncertain time to be a healthcare professional engaged with the management of MS. With political uncertainty, increasing staff shortages and other financial pressures we are going to have to do things differently. The MS Academy is helping us do things differently. Please use the holiday season to reflect on the past year and consider what the new year will bring for you and your family, your centre, your patients and the wider MS community.

We would like to thank our speakers, people with MS who participated in our meetings, members of the MS Academy and our sponsors for making 2019 such a great success. Instead of "Bah! Humbug!" we should be singing “Hallelujah” and celebrating our successes.

From the MS Academy, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Encouraging excellence, developing leaders, inspiring change

MS Academy was established five years ago and in that time has accomplished a huge amount. The six different levels of specialist MS training are dedicated to case-based learning and practical application of cutting edge research. Home to national programme Raising the Bar and the fantastic workstream content it is producing, this is an exciting Academy to belong to.