The first two days of November saw over 110 MS Health Care Professionals (HCPs) gather to discuss how we can end the variation in MS services across the UK.

HCPs, service providers, charities and planners all came together to hear eminent individuals talk about topics ranging from policy and data, to patient perspective and empowerment. The room then collectively questioned, discussed or debated that topic in relation to MS services, looking to decrease variation and optimise services for those living with the neurological condition.

MS Variance

Meeting delegates at the Park Regis in Birmingham

Jerry Clough, Programme Director at OPTUM

Intended to be the first in a series of key meetings, the biggest take-home message was that ‘change starts with us’ in clinical practice. Jerry Clough of OPTUM summed it up succinctly in his presentation when he said to the room, ‘You are the apex of this service,’ highlighting that to wait for commissioners or service planners to instigate dramatic and lasting change is not the answer. Similarly essential and impactful was the need to empower people with MS, or ‘MSers’ as the community refer to themselves, to self-manage and lead on their own condition and care, and to be equal partners in the design of MS services and support.

George Pepper, founder of

George Pepper, MSer and founder of closed his keynote speech with the challenge:

‘We must engage the more passive MSers to be more active in managing their own condition’.

As is often the case, the networking enabled by the meal and social elements on the Thursday evening was also highly productive, as challenges were shared, ideas and solutions debated, and networks formed, which will create lasting opportunities for collaboration, service benchmarking and replication of optimised service models.

Over the coming weeks, you will be able to find core messages, meeting outcomes and bodies of work beginning to take discussion into action, along with information on how to get involved personally.

The way forward, it seems, is to start doing things differently, and the difference must start with us.


To be part of the change:



Extent of representation:


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