I wrote to Jo Churchill MP, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care on access to rehabilitation services for people with MS and other neurological conditions across the UK.
Full text of the letter:
As Shadow Minister for Disabled People, I am writing to you for an update on the Government’s plans to protect rehabilitation access and services for people with MS and other neurological conditions across the UK, as we head into the next phase of the pandemic.
This week, the MS Society has published a report, “Too Much To Lose”, which explores the impact Covid-19 has had on rehabilitation services and people’s ability to manage their MS. The report, which I have attached a copy of, finds:
- Over a third (34%) of people say they felt their MS symptoms had got worse during lockdown, with many saying their ability to walk had deteriorated, they were experiencing increased fatigue and pain, and were struggling with low mood.
- When it came to speaking to a rehabilitation professional, 7 in 10 (69%) of those who needed to said they had been unable to since the start of the pandemic.
- Of those whose symptoms had worsened, over a half (51%) felt a reduction in, or changes to, specialist support had contributed to this.
Evidence shows that access to regular, co-ordinated multidisciplinary rehabilitation in the community improves long-term outcomes and can help to reduce hospital re-admissions for people with long term conditions and disabilities such as MS. I am concerned that people with long-term conditions like MS have deteriorated over of the course of the pandemic due to not being able to access rehabilitation.
As we head in to the next phase of the pandemic, it’s important that we learn from the experiences of patients and health and care professionals during the first wave in order to prevent further deterioration. As Covid-19 cases rise I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, the MS Society and people living with MS who could benefit from rehabilitation, to discuss this matter further.
Vicky Foxcroft MP
Shadow Minister for Disabled People