Taking our first steps in ‘the Way Forward’ to ending MS service variance



The first two days of November saw over 110 MS Health Care Professionals (HCPs) gather to discuss how we can end the variation in MS services across the UK.HCPs, service providers, charities and planners all came together to hear eminent individuals talk about topics ranging from policy and data, to patient perspective and empowerment. The room then collectively questioned, discussed or debated that topic in relation to MS services, looking to decrease variation and optimise services for those living with the neurological condition.[caption id="attachment_2790" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]MS Variance Meeting delegates at the Park Regis in Birmingham[/caption][caption id="attachment_3034" align="alignright" width="232"] Jerry Clough, Programme Director at OPTUM[/caption]Intended to be the first in a series of key meetings, the biggest take-home message was that ‘change starts with us’ in clinical practice. Jerry Clough of OPTUM summed it up succinctly in his presentation when he said to the room, ‘You are the apex of this service,’ highlighting that to wait for commissioners or service planners to instigate dramatic and lasting change is not the answer. Similarly essential and impactful was the need to empower people with MS, or ‘MSers’ as the community refer to themselves, to self-manage and lead on their own condition and care, and to be equal partners in the design of MS services and support.[caption id="attachment_2799" align="alignleft" width="332"] George Pepper, founder of Shift.ms[/caption]George Pepper, MSer and founder of Shift.ms closed his keynote speech with the challenge:

'We must engage the more passive MSers to be more active in managing their own condition'.

As is often the case, the networking enabled by the meal and social elements on the Thursday evening was also highly productive, as challenges were shared, ideas and solutions debated, and networks formed, which will create lasting opportunities for collaboration, service benchmarking and replication of optimised service models.Over the coming weeks, you will be able to find core messages, meeting outcomes and bodies of work beginning to take discussion into action, along with information on how to get involved personally.The way forward, it seems, is to start doing things differently, and the difference must start with us.

To be part of the change:

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Extent of representation:

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.