This year, the Queensland chapter of MS Australia celebrates 60 years of service to people living with MS. MS Queensland stands proudly alongside MS Australia’s three other long-standing state member organisations – MS Limited, the MS Society of South Australia and Northern Territory (MS Society SA/NT) and MSWA in Western Australia – which have also been providing essential frontline services for between 46 and 62 years.

Over 60+ years, these state MS organisations have grown to service thousands of people affected by and living with MS (and for some, other progressive neurological diseases) across the country, along the way embracing new technologies to reach people in rural and remote areas, such as webinars, online peer support, Facebook chat rooms and other online modes of communication.

Celebrating milestones

MS Australia is using MS Queensland’s 60th anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate the many milestones that have improved quality of life for people with MS in Australia over the past 60 years.

Examples include the introduction of free healthcare through Medicare, improved access to and affordability of medication through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Therapeutic Drugs Administration (TGA) and, more recently, the landmark National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which offers eligible individuals living with disabilities such as MS access to funding to cover individual care plans, access to services and support (both in-home and at work) and various aids. The ongoing introduction of more effective disease modifying therapies over the years has seen positive change and outcomes for the individuals that MS Australia supports – particularly as the country has subsidised financial access to the majority of these treatments.

Looking to the future, MS Australia is excited about the potential of the new innovation ‘My Health Record’, which promises to combat double-handling and streamline medical data, to benefit people living with MS nationwide.

A representative of MS Australia commented, ‘60 plus years on from the establishment of the first MS society in Australia, our country has grown rapidly and alongside the significant healthcare-related milestones above, has seen great strides in the care and support of people living with MS. Even so, we keep a watchful eye over the federal landscape, as these policies and departments have a direct link with our MS communities.’