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New centre of excellence for MS launched at Royal Stoke

EXCELLENCE: A look inside the new centre. Pictures: Mark Scott

PATIENTS living with Multiple Sclerosis are now able to access further support and quicker diagnoses after a centre of excellence for the condition was launched at Staffordshire' s biggest hospital.
With housing consultants, nurses, clinics and treatment, the MS Centre at the Royal Stoke University Hospital is now a one-stop shop for the 2,500 patients being treated there.

And the new centre is expected to play a vital part in shortening the time patients wait for a diagnosis from several months to a matter of weeks.

Dr Adnan Al-Araji, consultant neurologist and clinical lead, believes the centre will be a boost for both patients and staff.

He said: "What this new centre of excellence will allow us to do is give patients fast diagnostic and treatments.

"Evidence shows that early diagnosis and treatment will result in less long-term disability, improved quality of life, and the progression of the disease may be halted or delayed.

"It will be very important to have this all in one place. For staff it will be easier to move between clinic rooms and offer our multi-discipline clinics.

"And access for patients, especially as those with MS can have restricted mobility, will be easier."

Dr Al-Araji explained how the centre will be important in reducing diagnosis times.

He added: "Currently the whole process, from GP referral and meetings with consultants to diagnosis, takes around six to nine months.

"We are adopting a new pathway which will see that process cut to six to eight weeks – and this new service at the hospital will make all the difference."

A team of three consultants and five nurses are currently employed at the centre, with a further three consultants and two nurses due to start in the coming months.

Nikki Embrey, the MS clinical nurse specialist, said: "I think it is definitely reassuring for our patients to have this service available to them.

"Before they had to walk far too far, but now it is all in one area and they do like it. And the sooner they are diagnosed, the sooner we can get them in for treatment."

Patient Mike Clayton, of Alton, who was diagnosed with MS 26 years ago, is very impressed with the new facilities at the hospital.

"This will be of real benefit to patients," said the 66-year-old. "One problem we have is the unknown.

"But when you have everything planned out in terms of access to various rooms, in a specially-designed building, it makes things so much easier for everyone."

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by THESENTINEL
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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