Multiple Sclerosis/Fampridine - October 2021

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about multiple sclerosis.

With more than 100,000 people across the UK diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, please let me assure you that helping those suffering from this condition to lead as normal lives as possible remains a key commitment of the NHS.

As I understand, diagnosis in the early stages of multiple sclerosis can be difficult, with some of the symptoms often similar to other conditions. I am therefore pleased that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines to assist clinicians in diagnosing the condition. This guidance also provides clinicians with best practice for treating the many possible symptoms of multiple sclerosis, including mobility problems and fatigue.

I fully appreciate that those suffering from multiple sclerosis may also have specific long-term social care needs. That is why I am glad the Government has prioritised finding a long term social care solution with cross-party support. Better integration between health and social care provision, creating genuinely people-centred coordinated care, is also required, and I look forward to this being explored in forthcoming discussions.

I am encouraged that since 2015, £150.6 million has been spent on Multiple Sclerosis research through the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation. This funding demonstrates the commitment both of the Government and of the scientific research community to support people living with MS.

I have been following with interest the experiences of people who have been prescribed Fampridine. In particular, I have read of the experiences of some individuals who took Fampridine during clinical trials, only to see it withdrawn when the trial ended. Improving mobility and with it quality of life is something I would expect those drawing up guidelines about the treatment of MS to prioritise. As I'm sure you are aware, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) is updating its guideline on multiple sclerosis, including to take account of new evidence on the effectiveness of Fampridine for treating mobility in people with multiple sclerosis, and this guidance is expected to be published in July 2022. While this is ultimately a matter for NICE, I think it is important that NICE is aware of the strength of feeling about Fampridine and have ensured this is the case.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

Richard Fuller