Becca from the MS community: What would you say is the difference between private care and NHS care, if anybody out there is concerned about how they’ve been diagnosed?
Helen Ford, MS Specialist Neurologist: Yeah. So, in the UK obviously private care and the NHS care kind of run alongside each other. I think one of the things people don’t maybe realise is it’s the same doctors actually.
Becca: Yes, I… yeah.
Helen Ford: So it can, if you see an MS specialist in the private sector they’re likely to be working in the NHS as well. I think one of the advantages of NHS care is that you have the whole MS team working together.
I think that sometimes people who are, you know, really anxious and maybe there’s been a delay in them getting an appointment, actually do arrange a first appointment in the private sector, and that’s often because they’ve been waiting quite a long time.
I mean that has improved massively, I’d say, over the years. So certainly time to being seen is improving, but obviously it varies across the country and there are delays. I mean generally what would happen is if one of my colleagues saw somebody and made a diagnosis of MS in the private sector, they would transfer that person into the NHS.
So the other really important reason for that is that we deliver all of the MS treatments in the NHS as well, so certainly in our area none of my colleagues prescribe MS treatments in the private sector, so they would generally see people possibly for that first visit, but then transfer them to the NHS where they can be seen by MS specialist nurses and also have, you know, access to all of the disease modifying treatments.
Becca: That’s great.