Thursday, December 11, 2008

MS services are poor

Greg Baxter

Ireland has scored poorly, relative to the rest of Europe, on care for multiple sclerosis from the EU body Multiple Sclerosis — the Information Dividend (MS-ID).

According to the Dividend’s MS Barometer 2008, which compares MS services around Europe, Ireland scored 24th out of 32 countries, just behind Croatia and ahead of Spain. Germany scored the best, and Romania finished last.

The countries were measured on access to treatments and therapies; MS research agenda; employment of people with MS; empowerment of people with MS; reimbursement of MS costs; accurate MS data collection; and MS medication coming to the market.

Ireland scored particularly poorly on empowerment of people with MS, scoring zero out of a possible 45 points. Romania also scored zero.

A country’s empowerment scores take into account the presence of a consultation group on MS that advises Government on MS policies; whether that MS society is a member of the body that decides on the reimbursement of a new MS therapy; whether the MS society has consultative status with your national administration; whether a self-management course exists for people with MS to empower them to co-manage their own health as far as possible; and other services.

Ireland also scored zero points in the area of data collection. Fourteen countries registered a score in this area, but 18 scored zero.

In all categories but reimbursement of costs related to MS, Ireland scored below average.