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MS Nurse for Island 23 July 2004

The Isle of Man Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, together with the DHSS is pleased to announce a major success story: a Neurology Nurse Specialist has been appointed on the Island. Heidi Morris, a Manx nurse formerly working in the Outpatient Dept at Noble's Hospital, will take up her post this month.

The new nurse will provide specialist care to patients with chronic neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and adult epilepsy.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological condition among young adults in the British Isles. MS is the result of damage to myelin - a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system. When the myelin is damaged this interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission, while for others, it has a progressive pattern. In all cases it makes life uncertain as the resultant damage can cause a variety of effects.

The committee of the Isle of Man Branch of the MS Society consists entirely of volunteers with a desire to improve support for those diagnosed with MS, they have campaigned for a long time for the introduction of a dedicated MS nurse on the Island.

As the result of close co-operation between the local Branch, the Neurologist responsible for those with MS and others within the Health Service, the appointment of a dedicated resourced has been achieved. The funding is being provided by the local Branch of the MS Society and will be available until 2007 when the post will be absorbed into the Health Services budget. Heidi will work closely with the visiting Consultant Neurologist and the Walton Centre for Neurology as well as health care teams here on the Island.

Alan Harding, Chairman of the local MS Branch said:

"I am delighted with the creation of this post which has been achieved by persistence and co-operation. This should herald, for those with MS and others, greater support both upon initial diagnosis and subsequent management of the condition."

Bev Critchlow, Director of Nursing at Noble's Hospital, who has been working on this important development with the MS Society for some time, said:

"I am extremely pleased that our efforts have paid off. This has only been made possible by the commitment of the local MS Society and its branch members. I would like to thank them for their support. This new post will certainly make a real difference to the quality of life for patients with neurological conditions. This success demonstrates how important it is to work closely with the local community and those who use our services. We will continue to do this as we develop our services into the future."

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