Kirsty asks Mike about differences in care between the UK and Australia.
Kirsty: Great. So yeah, you moved to Australia five years ago?
Kirsty: So what are the differences between treatment here and treatment in Australia?
Mike: It’s a very different system, so if you’re brought up in the NHS the Australian system takes a little while to get your head round. It’s a mixed public and private model. But from the point of view of looking after people with MS, it’s chalk and cheese, so where to start really? I went from looking after 2,000 people here in the UK and I’ve probably got 250 in Australia, so I have a lot more time per patient, which is hugely important from diagnosis to every decision that you make. I think the proportion of people with MS in Australia on treatment’s about 60, 65% and I think it’s probably about 25, 30 here, so twice as likely to be on treatment. Arguably, maybe that’s a few too many, but just let you know.
And Australia’s got the highest penetrance of the highly active treatment, so many more people on Tysabri, alemtuzumab and the really potent treatments that we think will alter the disease long term, so they’re all important factors. Another example, the city I’m in has seven MRI scanners, so if you need an MRI scan in Townsville where I am, I can get you an MRI scan tomorrow, generally. So in terms of monitoring patients, which again is becoming more and more important, that’s an enormous difference. So easy access to therapy, time with patients, easy access to monitoring, makes doing the job properly, easy. So they’re big changes and they’re important changes, so much though I loved my time here in the NHS, I now actually find managing people with MS much more straightforward where I am now.
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