On Monday 30 June, the final report of Lord Darzi's review of the NHS will be
published and will talk of an NHS that "empowers patients" through care that is
"high quality and personal".
Lord Darzi will announce the piloting of
personalised budgets in healthcare, following successes in social care.
The MS Society is a key stakeholder in the review process and MS has
been named as a condition that would benefit from personal healthcare budgets.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: "The emphasis
on personal budgets and patient empowerment means this report represents a great
opportunity to give people with multiple sclerosis (MS) access to the care they
need when they need it and in the most appropriate way.
"MS is a
fluctuating and complex condition and people's needs change from week to week.
Putting people at the heart of planning and delivery of their own healthcare
should lead to a better quality of life overall and encourage greater
independence, as we have seen when personalised social care has worked.
"The extension of personal budgets must not, however, be seen as an end
in itself. This is a necessary step in the process of giving people with
disabilities maximum control over their lives, and over the care and support
The Government has also laid out plans to speed up the
National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) drug delivery process.
The MS Society has twice challenged NICE over its assessment of MS
drugs, first over the beta interferons and glatiramer acetate and last year over
natalizumab. In the first case, the Department of Health set up a risk sharing
scheme to make the drugs available outside of the NICE framework. In the second
case, NICE revised its opinion on appeal.
Chief executive Simon
Gillespie said: "This is good news for people with conditions like MS, who are
keen to see effective new treatments made available as quickly as possible.
"The MS Society has had several bruising encounters with NICE over MS
drugs and while it's right that the NHS keeps a close eye on costs, two years is
far too long to wait if you have an incurable condition and can see yourself
"There are still issues that NICE needs to address - the
lack of transparency in their methods, the significant number of drugs that
haven't been assessed - but this is definitely a step in the right direction."
Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disorder
affecting young adults and an estimated 85,000 people in the UK have MS. MS is
the result of damage to myelin - the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres
of the central nervous system - which interferes with messages between the brain
and the body. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and
remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. Symptoms range from
loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is
no cure and few effective treatments. The MS Society
is the UK's
largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS,
providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000),
specialist MS nurses and funds around 40 vital MS research projects in the UK.