National guidance at a local level – translating the OPTIMUM pathway for use

13 Jul 2021

The OPTIMUM care pathway for multiple sclerosis (MS) is beginning to gain traction after launching in Spring this year.

Developed by the National Neurological Advisory Group (NNAG), the pathway is a thorough and aspirational pathway detailing care and support from someone with MS from first presenting with symptoms to their GP, through every element of their journey, culminating in positive end of life care.

We heard in the report 'NHS Reset and Reform' of what a valuable tool the national pathway could be in assisting the NHS in resetting itself post-pandemic, and reinvigorating services with a clear focus and an aspirational goal. Indeed, one of the next steps outlined in the document was: 'Adoption of the NNAG’s optimum clinical pathway for MS at scale.'

'Ensuring everyone is aware of this optimum pathway will be key for improving MS services, whilst how the pathway is translated, delivered and implemented across local integrated services will be a central issue.'

p11. NHS Reset and Reform

We are now starting to hear of how it is being used to improve MS services and support around the country.

Ian Pomeroy, consultant neurologist and recent Leadership MasterClass graduate, has begun leading a wide-ranging stakeholder group in understanding how to make the national aspiration a local reality in Liverpool.

'The OPTIMUM pathway is a sophisticated, 2-dimensional model of care, mapping both the whole of the care pathway from diagnosis to end of life, but also depicting the inter-relationships between services and the coordination required at any given point.'

'It's a lot more challenging [to implement] - with NICE guidelines, you can tick them off as you meet them, but this is something you can't do on your own. It requires coordination and needs everyone to do their part.'

Dr Ian Pomeroy, Consultant Neurologist, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

Representatives from across the MS community gathered together to agree their priorities and next steps to take this work forward, and have outlined their commitment in a public document.

The OPTIMUM pathway has also formed a starting point for the stakeholder group seeking to take MS Unite from concept to creation. The recent meeting agreed to use the diagnostic element of the pathway to help lead the direction of work to come. Read the full article:

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