Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong neurological condition which affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance. Symptoms can be minimal or can have a more significant impact on how a person functions. Each person’s experience and symptoms are unique.
The Multiple Sclerosis team provides specialist nursing and medical management of patients with MS across North Devon. The team works closely with other MS services in the South West region and especially the Royal Devon Healthcare Trust MS Team.
Care extends from diagnosis, throughout the patient journey to a fully integrated care approach if this is required. The team consists of part-time consultant neurologists; MS clinical nurse specialist and neuro-therapy service. The team support people with MS throughout their MS pathway with an integrated, personalised approach.
There’s currently no cure for MS, but the team’s emphasis is on guiding people to manage their lifestyle and symptoms as best they can. This involves regular exercise, healthy eating and being alert to changes in their body and taking appropriate action.
The team will also advise on specific symptom management and the appropriate use of drug therapies. A research portfolio allows patients to contribute to all manner of MS related research projects including clinic trials of novel therapies in development.
The team is actively involved in both the education of patients, medical and health and social care professionals in training.
Care ranges from establishing a diagnosis, providing symptomatic management to provision of all recognised and NICE approved disease modifying therapies where appropriate. The use of disease modifying therapies forms the main focus of management in relapse prevention and is achieved with well formulated local guidelines to ensure safe, monitored use of the correct therapies at the correct time.
Access to regular neuro-radiology meetings facilitate patient specific discussions with radiological investigations providing a concrete platform for complex clinical decision making to facilitate access to centrally (NHS England) funded costly Disease Modifying Therapies.
Symptomatic care is directed where needed and is undertaken with a large element of support from community based health care professionals. The MS Clinical Nurse Specialist works closely with GPs, community physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, bladder and bowel care service, community matrons and psychologists. Support and advice is provided throughout a person’s disease trajectory.
The MS Team
Carol Turner, MS Clinical Nurse Specialist
Sue McLoughlin, MS Service Co-ordinator
Neuro-therapy Team – Lead Emma Cork
Dr Mark Fish, Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Service Lead
Dr Christopher Price, Consultant Neurologist
Dr Sonali Dharia, Consultant Neurologist
Professor Timothy Harrower, Consultant Neurologist
We are based at
Northern Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4JB
Infusion therapies are undertaken on Seamoor Unit, North Devon District Hospital
MS Nurse Advice Line: 01271 311747
MS Co-ordinator: 01271 335804
Neurology Consultants: can be contacted via their secretaries – please contact the General Switchboard on 01271 322577 and ask for the Department of Neurology
The MS Nurse Advice Line is available for all patient and Health & Social Care Professional queries: 01271 311747
The South West MS Therapy Centre is part of a national charity, based in Exeter: 01392 447411. The Centre provides support and advice, hold information days, exercise classes, physiotherapy sessions and offer alternative treatments. Website: www.msntc.org.uk / southwestmscentre.co.uk
The MS Society support a local group in North Devon and surrounding areas. Website: www.mssociety.org.uk/care-and-support/local-support/local-groups/north-devon-group
This is a free, confidential, NHS talking therapy service for adults, offering effective treatments and therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Website: www.dpt.nhs.uk/locations/talkworks-depression-and-anxiety-service-north-devon
Online information for people with MS and healthcare and social care professionals is available from the following websites:
MS Trust: www.mstrust.org.uk
MS Society: www.mssociety.org.uk
GP’s can refer patients to neurologists via the Choose and Book system.
The MS nurse takes direct referrals from GP’s for people with a confirmed diagnosis of MS.
Meeting the MS Team
A mixture of face to face clinical appointments, telephone consultations and video calls allow the team to assess and provide the level of support patients, their family and carers require.
Co-ordinated, comprehensive care and management is achieved through regular multidisciplinary meetings.