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Mobile unit allows nurses to reach more MS patients

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The UK’s first mobile infusion unit aimed at significantly improving treatment for multiple sclerosis patients is to be piloted at Derriford Hospital in Devon.

The fully-staffed unit will help ensure patients receive essential regular transfusions, even during particularly busy times in the hospital, said Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

“This pilot will dramatically improve our patients’ experience and treatment including during our busy, winter bed pressures”

Jeremy Hobart

There will also be a shorter time between the treatment decision being made to treatment commencing, said the trust.

Other benefits include more effective use of management and nurse resources, hospital capacity freed up – particularly the planned investigation unit – and the opportunity to rent the mobile unit for other infusions.

The pilot, which is due to begin on 19 November, is a collaboration with Biogen Ltd, Quintiles Nursing and EMS Healthcare. It will initially be for one year.

Biogen will provide nursing staff and transfusion with the humanised monoclonal antibody natalizumab (Tysabri), which is given to MS patients every four weeks.

Treatment regularity is essential. When the time between infusions exceeds four weeks, the treatment begins to wear off, leaving patients increasingly unprotected against the disease and at risk of irreversible brain damage and disability.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Mobile unit allows nurses to reach more MS patients

Mobile infusion unit

Professor Jeremy Hobart, the consultant leading on the project, said: “This pilot will dramatically improve our patients’ experience and treatment including during our busy, winter bed pressures.

He noted that the trust had identified 15 patients locally who would benefit from the service and who normally received their infusions at the planned investigation unit.

“Due to the extended bed pressures that the trust has experienced this year, many of the infusions were cancelled, rescheduled leaving patients without protection from the treatment and prone to relapses,” he said.

“The purpose of the mobile unit is to help trusts who experience capacity problems deliver these infusions in a timely manner,” he added.

MS management has changed radically in the last five years due to the range of potent disease modifying drugs now available that can influence the natural history of MS, radically improve outcomes, and prevent irreversible disability and brain damage.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Mobile unit allows nurses to reach more MS patients

Mobile infusion unit

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