McAlpine joins campaign to stop the MS lottery

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South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has pledged to help ensure that all people living with MS in Dumfries and Galloway, and across Scotland, have access to the right treatment, care and support, regardless of where they live. This comes as the largest ever survey of people with MS showed that not everyone living with MS in Scotland was able to access the health and social care services, support and MS treatments they needed.

On Wednesday 1st May the MS Society showcased the results from their report, A Lottery of Treatment and Care, during their Garden Lobby reception.  Ms McAlpine attended to show her support for the ‘Stop the MS Lottery’ campaign and to meet people living with the condition.Commenting, the SNP MSP said:

“I’m very happy to show my support for this important campaign.  Through experience I know that MS affects many of my constituents.

“Everyone in Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland should be able to get the treatment, services and support they need.

“I will continue to work with my constituents, fellow MSPs and organisations to drive this campaign forward”.

Christine Carlin, MS Society Director for Scotland said:

“There are over 10,500 people living with MS in Scotland and it is essential that these people can access the right treatments, services and support in order to manage their condition. We have been delighted by the support we have received from MSPs throughout MS Week and at our reception. By working together we can stop the MS Lottery.”

Cat Johnson, who spoke at the event, was diagnosed with MS when she was 21 years old:

“Living with a fluctuating condition like MS means that you never really know how you’re going to feel from day to day. It is absolutely essential that we can access the right treatments, services and support when we need them. When all this is in place, people with MS can live independent lives. Without it, you’re struggling with the symptoms of your condition and the physical and social barriers that stop you from living your life to the full. I was overwhelmed to see so many MSPs there showing their support. Working together we can make a difference people like me who live with MS.”

Stop the MS Lottery – Launching its ‘Stop the MS Lottery’ campaign this week, the MS Society has asked the Scottish Government to ensure improved and equitable access to treatment, care and support by people living with MS. For more details about the Campaign visit

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About the report:

·           The MS Society posted surveys to people with MS in the UK aged 18 and over in Autumn 2012

·           10, 530 people responded, which was a 44% response rate

·           People were asked what services they needed and to what extent these needs had been met over the previous 12 months

·           Please visit

·           To see the report in full please contact the MS Society Scotland:

         Becky Duff, Head of Policy and Communications, MS Society Scotland

         Sarah Ritchie, Press, Policy and Campaigns Manager, MS Society Scotland

         T: 0131 335 4061/4058 out of hours: 07825 101 977


Key findings in Scotland: 
·           Only 36% of people who were eligible are taking approved MS treatments in Scotland. This is half the number in Northern Ireland.

·           One third of people living in Scotland felt they did not have enough information about medicines.

·           A quarter of people in Scotland said they are not able to see a neurologist when they needed to.

·           58% of people living with MS in Scotland had their need for mood and emotional support met.  This is the highest in the UK, but still leaves 42% of people without the support they need.

·           Scotland is leading the way in self-management, with 53% of people being offered the opportunity to attend a self management course. This is almost double the UK average.

About the MS Society:

·      The MS Society ( is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS providing an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS information and funding vital MS research projects in the UK. 
About multiple sclerosis (MS):

·           MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults and an estimated 100,000 people in the UK have MS (10,500 in Scotland)

·           MS is the result of damage to myelin – the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system – which interferes with messages between the brain and the body.

·           For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.

·           Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.