Background information to this meeting

The first two days of November 2018 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.

→ Programme for this event (PDF) 

Variance in MS Services, for example, access to and the prescribing of disease-modifying therapies, have been well documented across England by surveys performed by the MS Society, MS Trust and the RCP. This has been backed up by data presented at the ABN in Birmingham from the NHSE Bluteq database. We and others feel this is a problem for people living with MS and is a barrier to improving outcomes for pwMS being managed by the NHS in England. To address this problem we held this initial meeting of representatives from MS DMT prescribing centres across England. The aim of the meeting is to generate ideas and proposals to address and solve this problem. We envisage holding subsequent follow-on meetings to implement and test potential proposals developed as a result of this meeting.

→ Read more about this event

Listen to the speakers’ presentations via our podcast



Day 1: Thursday, 1 November 2018


Defining the Problem

Prof Gavin Giovannoni, Professor of Neurology, Barts and The London School of Medicine


My Experience

Stephen Bleach, The Sunday Times


Variation in Healthcare Provision. Warranted and Unwarranted.

Dr Charlie Davie, CEO, UCLPartners


Lessons from Cardiac Surgery

Prof Ben Bridgewater, CEO, Health Innovation Manchester


GIRFT (Getting It Right First Time)

Dr Geraint Fuller, Clinical Lead GIRFT, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation


NHS Perspective

Prof Adrian Williams, Chair, Neuroscience Clinical Reference Group (CRG)


Dinner Speech

Alastair Hignell CBE, Patron of MS-UK (formerly known as MSRC), the inspiration behind Higgy’s Heroes, ex England Rugby player, County Cricketer and BBC Commentator


Day 2: Friday, 2 November 2018


Inequalities in access to health and social care among adults with MS: a scoping review of the literature

Paola Dey, Edge Hill University


Variance in MS Service Provision – MS Society’s Perspective

Georgina Carr, Head of Campaigns and External Relations, MS Society


Variance in the Provision of MS Nurse Specialists – MS Trust

David Martin, CEO, MS Trust


A Patient’s Perspective

George Pepper, MSer and founder of


The NHSE DMT Treatment Algorithm

Dr Waqar Rashid, Neurologist and member of the ABN MS Specialist Interest Group


How will Bluteq Contribute to Reducing Variance in DMT Prescribing?

Malcolm Qualie, NHSE Chief Pharmacist


MS MDTs as a Vehicle to Improve Variance

Dr David Rog, Consultant Neurologist, Salford


Influencing Commissioners

Jerry Clough, Programme Director, OPTUM


The Role of the MS Pharmacist

Joela Mathews, Neuroscience Pharmacist, Barts Health NHS Trust


The Use of Databasing as a Tool to Tackle Variance

Prof Neil Robertson, Professor of Neurology, Cardiff


Implementing the NHSE Stopping Criteria for DMTs

Dr Gordon Mazibrada, Consultant Neurologist, Birmingham


Web-based Pharmacovigilance as an Opportunity to Track Variation in MS Service Provision

Dr Ruth Dobson, Clinical Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)


DMT Monitoring

Rachel Dorsey-Campbell, Neuroscience Pharmacist, Imperial NHS Trust


Audit and Quality Improvement Tools to Reduce Variance

Prof Jeremy Hobart, Professor of Neurology, Plymouth


Feedback from Breakout Groups

Dr Gordon Mazibrada, Dr David Rog & Prof Jeremy Hobart