The UK MS Society launched the Treat Me Right campaign in April 2014 to call for the right treatment at the right time for people with MS in the UK. Following a survey of over 10,000 people with MS in late 2012, the MS Society found there was poor access to adequate information about treatment options, appropriate healthcare professionals and MS medicines. This means that thousands of people are not getting the care they need.
The survey found that six out of 10 people with MS in the UK are not taking a medicine that can alter the course of the condition, despite being eligible for them, while one in five people had not seen their neurologist in the last 12 months.
National, regional and local activity run with and by people affected by MS and a dedicated microsite and concerted media and social media campaign have helped the campaign reach the public and decision makers.
Since the launch of the Treat Me Right Campaign, over 200 UK politicians have pledged their support. There have also been more than 130 items of media coverage reaching 43 per cent of UK adults an average of 2.5 times and the MS Society has reached thousands through a lively social media campaign.
This year, the campaign called for considerable changes to the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for MS. Media coverage and pressure from the MS community meant that NICE recognised the MS Society as a key influencer, and worked with the MS Society on a podcast for a national newspaper focused on MS treatment – the first time the Institute have embarked on such an event in its history.
The final guidelines, published in October 2014, include a number of the MS Society’s recommendations, including the need for annual reviews for all people with MS.
However, the guidelines also blocked access to two progressive MS treatments, Sativex and Fampyra, based on a flawed analysis of cost effectiveness. The Treat Me Right campaign is therefore keeping the pressure on NICE to conduct a more thorough assessment to ensure that people with MS in the UK have access to the right treatments for them at the right time.
People can show their support for the campaign at www.treatmerightms.org.uk