MS: Emergency hospital admissions continue to rise

Emergency hospital admissions for people with MS are rising in a major part of the UK. So says new research published by the MS Trust and Wilmington Healthcare. These admissions cause distress, and cost the NHS millions. Yet many could be avoided.

admissionsThe report shows that emergency hospital admissions for people with MS in England increased by 12.7% over the two years to 2015/16.

The latest English Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data says there were 26,679 emergency hospital admissions for people with MS in England in 2015/16, compared to 23,665 in 2013/14, and this cost the NHS a total of £46m.

The report maintains that a large part of this emergency care could be avoided with better proactive, preventative healthcare.

Report is staggering

Some of the report’s findings are staggering. Of people with MS who had an emergency admission to hospital in 2015/2016:

  • Urinary tract infections accounted for 14% and cost £2,639 per patient;
  • Respiratory issues cost the National Health Service (NHS) a total of £5.4m;
  • Bladder and bowel related issues cost £10.4m.

The report found that 20% of 89,030 people with MS in England were admitted to hospital as emergencies in 2015/16. The average cost per admission was £1,733 and the average length of stay was 8.2 days.

Wilmington Healthcare’s Commissioning Excellence Directorate CEO Sue Thomas said: “Our latest report shows that the problems we highlighted in our original 2013/14 analysis have increased in the past couple of years. A growing number of patients with MS go to hospital for emergency care; yet many admissions could be avoided.

“Preventative care strategies for people with MS must be reviewed in order to tackle problems, such as respiratory and urinary tract infections, at an early stage to try to avert the need for emergency care. This would not only be of huge benefit to patients, it would also reduce pressure on struggling A&E departments.”

MS Trust ‘disappointed’ that admissions are increasing

MS Trust chief executive Pam Macfarlane said: “It is disappointing to see that avoidable emergency hospital admissions for people with MS have continued to rise in 2015/16.

“Last November, the MS Trust brought together partners from across the MS sector to publish the MS Forward View consensus. This showed that people with MS need a flexible blend of care, comprising disease modification and also proactive symptom management and neurorehabilitation, delivered by multidisciplinary teams.

“This is one reason why we are now funding additional MS nurses in areas of the UK where services are the most overstretched. Only with the right specialist and community based support will we reduce the need for emergency hospital care for people with MS,” she said.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.


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