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Charity recruits MS specialist nurses for areas in 'desperate need'

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) specialist nurses have been recruited in areas that are in “desperate need of extra support”, the MS Trust has announced.

Thanks to fundraising by supporters, the charity has been able to appoint and fund four additional nurses as part of its campaign to ensure no-one in the UK has to manage the illness alone.

“The MS Trust is thrilled to be able to bring new nurses to these areas, which our research showed were all in desperate need of extra support”

Jo Sopala

The new nurses will work across South Tees, Lothian, Hull, North Lincolnshire and Goole.

MS nurses are “vital” for those who live with the illness, says the charity, and can help sufferers adjust to their diagnosis and consider complicated treatment.

They can also help those with MS manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, lifelong condition.

After 15 months, the respective NHS trusts will take over funding for the nurse posts. The MS Trust will continue to support their training and development, as it does with all MS nurses in the UK.

Stacey Hood and Kevin Taylor have been appointed to work across Hull, North Lincolnshire and Goole and will be working with the existing MS nurse team based at Hull Royal Infirmary developing an innovative, cross site model. Mr Taylor is due to start this month, and Ms Hood in January.

In addition, Claire Naisbitt has been appointed in South Tees and Emily Harrison has joined the team in Lothian. They will both start this month.

The MS Trust conducts regular research into nursing levels across the UK and has found around 77% of people with MS in the UK live in areas where there aren’t enough MS nurses.

“Being an MS nurse, you are in a privileged position to provide the support and navigation that people with MS find invaluable”

Emily Harrison

The research highlighted Lothian, Hull, North Lincolnshire, Goole and South Tees as areas urgently in need of extra support.

Ms Naisbitt, the new MS specialist nurse at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I love being a nurse as I enjoy caring for people and strive to deliver the best care for them.

“I am really looking forward to the MS Trust’s training programme and developing into my new role,” she added.

Ms Harrison, who will join the team at NHS Lothian’s Anne Rowling Centre, added: “Being an MS nurse, you are in a privileged position to make change, add quality and provide the support and navigation that people with MS find invaluable.”

The MS Trust has campaigned for MS nurses since the mid-1990s and today there are around 300 MS specialist nurses across the UK.

Jo Sopala, director of the health professional programme at the MS Trust, said: “The MS Trust is thrilled to be able to bring new nurses to these areas, which our research showed were all in desperate need of extra support.”

Ms Sopala added that the new nurses would “make a huge difference” to people living with MS and assured that the charity “will be there to support them every step of the way”.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to all our supporters for helping us to take another step towards our overall goal of making sure that no one in the UK has to manage MS alone” she said.

The MS Trust is set to extend the specialist nurse programme even further and will announce the next sites to benefit soon.

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