Belfast Telegraph

Special Report: Human face of health cuts: Politicians are failing us... I've not seen an expert for two years

Case Study 3

Derek McCambley (56), from Bangor, Co Down:

"I've had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 12 years. MS affects more than 4,500 of us in Northern Ireland.

It is unpredictable and different for everyone but one thing we all have in common is that we are being failed by our local politicians in their inability to set up a functioning Executive and take in hand a struggling health service. Because of their dogmatic views, we are sleepwalking from crisis to catastrophe.

Waiting lists for neurology are out of control. I haven't seen my neurologist for over two years and even that was a rushed five-minute appointment.

Many clinics are cramped, overbooked and don't run on time, and some trusts don't have specialist neurologists with an interest in MS or provide MS-specific outpatient clinics.

Even urgent appointments can take over a year.

Neurologists and MS nurses alike are overstretched and overworked, and it is often through their goodwill only that there is any sort of a cohesive service provided.

Things are bad enough now but with upwards of 200 people newly diagnosed every year you can see things will only go from bad to worse.

People with MS are supposed to see their neurologist at least once a year. Instead, they are faced with long periods of anxiety about symptoms and drug management.

It's vital to be in regular and timely contact with your neurologist, to be able to chart the clinical progression, to make sure the drugs you are taking are safe for you and are the most efficacious to control your MS. One concern I constantly have is how far my MS has progressed since I last saw my consultant, what damage has occurred in my brain and what long-term ramifications there are for me."

Belfast Telegraph


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