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Leicester welcomes UK’s first new charity MS specialist nurses

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An acute trust in the East Midlands has appointed the first multiple sclerosis nurses to be funded and trained by the MS Trust charity, as part of a new nationwide specialist nurse programme.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust announced today that Joanne Pughe and Jonathan Maisey had joined the organisation via an innovative partnership with the charity.

As reported by Nursing Times, the MS Trust announced in April that for the first time it was to directly fund multiple sclerosis specialist nurse posts, rather than just their training.

It conducts regular research into nursing levels across the UK and has found around two-thirds of the 108,000 people with MS in the UK live in areas where there are not enough MS nurses.

The research highlighted Leicester as one of the area’s most urgently in need of support. The charity estimated that there are around 1,600 people living with MS in the Leicestershire and Rutland area.

Ms Pughe and Mr Maisey will be delivering care across the county, supporting patients through diagnosis, helping them to maintain their health while living with MS and providing expert care and guidance.

They will also work closely with other health and social care professionals to help plan patient care.

The charity has supported the recruitment of both nurses and its specialist nurse programme will fund one full-time post for 15 months, with the NHS trust reviewing the extension of the posts after that period.

Pam Macfarlane

Charity to fund MS specialist nurse posts for first time

Pam Mcfarlane

Over the coming months, the MS Trust will work with the Leicester trust’s MS team to help them make the most of the new nurses and demonstrate the difference they make to local people.

Pam Macfarlane, chief executive of the MS Trust, said: “The MS Trust has long campaigned about the need for more MS nurses, but this is the first time it has taken the step of helping develop and fund new posts itself.

“Everyone is incredibly excited about the new MS nurses in Leicester,” she said. “We hope these nurses will make a huge difference to the hundreds of local people living with MS.”

Allison Smith, MS specialist nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals, added: “We were so pleased to be the recipients of the MS Trust funding.

“We have really big plans to support people with MS throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland by having more community clinics and allowing more access to MS specialists,” she said.

Ms Smith highlighted that MS specialist nurses were “vital” for patients with the condition.

She said: “They can help them adjust to diagnosis, consider complicated treatment options, manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, lifelong condition.

“Without MS nurses, people with MS may have to manage difficult symptoms alone and they may also have to rely on expensive emergency care when their symptoms get worse,” she noted.

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