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Multiple Sclerosis: Diagnosis

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 78826, tabled on 22 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance has been issued for healthcare practitioners to support the accurate diagnosis of people with signs and symptoms of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Answered on

1 September 2020

Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is a stage which comes after relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) for many people with the condition. After a diagnosis of RRMS has been established, clinicians will observe the patient's symptoms over a period of time, in order to determine if they are associated with SPMS. With this type of multiple sclerosis (MS), a person’s disability gets steadily worse and they are less likely to have relapses (when symptoms get worse but then get better).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Multiple sclerosis in adults: management’, updated in 2019 sets out best practice on the diagnosis, treatment, care and support of people with MS. The guidance sets out a number of initial presentations that clinicians should be aware of when looking for signs of MS. This is supplemented by the NICE Quality Standard for MS, published in 2016, which describes what high-quality MS care, including diagnosis, looks like.

The NICE guidance is included in the following links: