Multiple Sclerosis: policy context

There are no government policy documents in Scotland that relate specifically to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The Scottish policy documents Delivering for Health (2005) and the Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan (2007) both recognise the importance of long-term conditions and advocate a generic (rather than disease-specific) approach to managing these conditions, including improving community care and self-management. In 2008 the Health and Social Care Alliance published "Gaun Yersel", a self-management strategy for people with long-term conditions in Scotland.

Audit Scotland published a report entitled 'Managing Long Term Conditions' in August 2007. The report used COPD and epilepsy as examples of long-term conditions but the principles are equally applicable to other long term conditions like multiple sclerosis.

The MS Society and the MS Research Trust have produced recommended standards for the care of people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis Society (1999)). In January 2010 NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland published Clinical Standards for Neurological Services, including services for multiple sclerosis.

In England a National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions was published in 2005. This focused on the needs of people with long-term neurological conditions and may provide a useful model for Scotland.

In November 2003, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidelines for the Management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care(152Kb).

The UK MS register was launched in May 2011 and aims to develop a comprehensive resource to increase understanding of MS and support research. It includes a Scottish participating centre but there is also a separate Scottish MS register that aims to include MS patients from all of Scotland.