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National audit of services for people with multiple sclerosis: 2011 reports

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The two key documents from the 2011 round of the audit, the executive summary and the full report, are available below.

Key recommendations

Department of Health

A system of commissioning and payment that facilitates integration between all healthcare providers and also between healthcare and Social Services needs to be developed and implemented.

We recommend that a body such as NICE (through its quality improvement programme) or the Care Quality Commission be tasked with monitoring the extent of integration and collaboration among healthcare organisations and also with social services.

NHS organisations

All NHS organisations need to give more attention to rehabilitation services for people with long-term neurological conditions such as MS. We recommend that each NHS organisation should:

  • review this report and their own performance at board level to improve the standards of care provided by them to people with MS
  • involve people with MS in the design and provision, or the commissioning of any services that are used by people with MS
  • start a five year project to improve the services within its remit for people with MS
  • foster links with other relevant organisations within and beyond the NHS ie Social Care, patient organisations
  • routinely record the frequency and extent of unmet need for equipment for people with MS, and commissioning organisations should then provide adequate resources for equipment.

Clinical staff

All clinical staff need to pay more attention to the many and varied problems faced by people with MS.

We recommend that clinical staff in primary and secondary care should:

  • ask every patient if they are experiencing pain, and specialist pain management must be available to those with poor pain control. Nonspecialist staff should use the NICE guideline Neuropathic pain: The pharmacological management of neuropathic pain in adults in nonspecialist settings (CG96)5
  • be asked to use structured assessments of mood, cognition and daily activities, to record the outcomes and to refer to specialist services as appropriate. The ‘review checklist’ in NICE CG8 (Table 2, page 60) is one possible template1
  • always consider the need for equipment and always refer for assessment and provision of equipment if necessary.