It’s a disgrace to hand notice to nurse treating multiple sclerosis patients, says Redbridge MS Society

PUBLISHED: 08:04 22 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:01 22 February 2013

“A disgrace” is the conclusion of a charity chairman after a specialist nurse treating about 500 patients with multiple sclerosis was handed her notice.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision.

- About eight out of 10 people with MS will have the relapsing remitting type of MS. - Someone with this will have periods of time where symptoms are mild or disappear altogether.

- There is no cure for MS but there are a number of treatments that can help including disease-modifying drugs.

- MS is known as an autoimmune condition. This is where something goes wrong with the immune system and it mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue.

- It is estimated that there are about 100,000 people with MS in the UK.

Source: NHS Choices

Dr John Jestico, chairman of the Redbridge branch of Multiple Sclerosis Society UK, helped raise £30,000 for a specialist nurse 10 years ago to create the position.

This was done in agreement with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which said if they raised the money a specialist nurse would be taken on permanently, according to Dr Jestico.

The nurse made home visits and went to the Marjorie Collins Multiple Sclerosis Day Centre, Grove Road, Chadwell Heath.

Dr Jestico said: “The patients are up in arms about this. We think we have been let down and the health authorities have reneged on their promise after we raised all this money in the first place.”

The project to raise the money for the nurse was adopted by then Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Alan Weinberg.

Dr Jestico said: “More than 10 years ago the local people of Redbridge raised £30,000. Without this nurse our patients will suffer as they won’t be able to get any specialist services. It’s a disgrace.”

The nurse acted as a link between the patients and doctor as well as helping with medication and giving specialist support.

“It’s a huge job and she’s specially trained,” Dr Jestico added. “Multiple Sclerosis is the biggest cause of disability in the young.”

Denise Hatton, of Cranbourne Gardens, Barkingside has suffered from MS for about 40 years and said the availability of the specialist nurses had been “invaluable”.

Mrs Hatton said: “It’s such an invaluable service. I think it’s shocking. Cuts need to be made, but they are making them in the wrong places. There aren’t many facilities for us.”

Mike Gill, medical director of the trust, said: “A careful review and consultation process discovered that the clinics run by our MS nurses have a particularly high rate of non-attendance by patients, and it was decided that the care could be provided differently.”

“We are very grateful for the financial support given to the trust by the Redbridge MS Society 12 years ago.”

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