New Advanced MS Champion for Cumbria

The MS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Advanced MS Champion for the local area, only the third in the whole of the UK. 

Advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterised by increasing disability, including mobility and balance problems, severe pain and fatigue, difficulty swallowing, spasticity, bladder and bowel problems, and loss of memory. The MS Trust estimates up to 40,000 people in the UK have advanced MS.

However, MS Trust research has found that many people with advanced MS report losing contact with MS specialist services as their condition gets worse, and have to rely on informal care from family and friends, and sometimes have to manage this debilitating condition alone.

Thanks to funding from city philanthropists The October Club, the MS Trust launched a transformational three-year programme to change that. The Advanced MS Champion Programme will fund six new Champions, over a three-year period, in select locations across the UK, transforming the lives of thousands of people living with advanced MS.

Nicola Hyslop, based at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is the UK’s third Advanced MS Champion and will bring much-needed care to people in the local area living with the complex and often devastating symptoms that characterise advanced MS, as well as providing support to families and carers.

Over the next three years, the MS Trust hopes to demonstrate how the Champions can make a real difference in delivering efficient, equitable and joined-up MS services that work for people with MS and save the NHS money by reducing emergency hospital admissions. The charity believes this will make the case for these roles to be rolled out across the NHS so that no one has to manage MS alone.

Megan Roberts, Health Professionals Programme Manager at the MS Trust, commented:

“Our work over the past five years has shown that people with advanced MS and their families all too often miss out on vital specialist care. The generous support of The October Club has enabled us to set up the Advanced MS Champions programme which we hope will transform the lives of people living with advanced MS and their families.

“Everyone at the MS Trust is hugely excited about the appointment of Nicola. We know that she’ll make a huge difference to local people living with this debilitating condition.”

Nicola Hyslop, Advanced MS Champion for Cumbria, added:

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to take on the challenge of being an Advanced MS Champion.  I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know patients and their families, building a good rapport which will enable us to work together, to ensure that they are fully supported and receiving the most appropriate care.

“The MS service in Cumbria is continually expanding and is staffed by a very small and dedicated team. The patient caseload and the rurality of the local area has often made it difficult for those patients with advanced MS to be reviewed regularly which may have led to unnecessary hospital admissions and them feeling unsupported.  I hope to provide patients with regular contact in their homes, promote wellbeing and treatment when appropriate, and ultimately reduce the need for unnecessary hospital admissions by ensuring that the appropriate support is in place.”