A new service offered at a Bradford hospital means patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) can receive a life-changing medication closer to their homes.
Previously, Bradford patients had to travel to Leeds for part of their treatment but now this can be administered at St Luke’s Hospital, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Tysabri, which is given intravenously (by drip), is a disease modifying drug (DMD) for very active relapsing remitting MS and is taken once every four weeks to reduce the number and severity of relapses.
The St Luke’s patients are now able to access it nearer to home by a visit to the hospital’s rheumatology day case unit.
Sister, Suzanne Mitchell said: “Consultant Neurologist, Dr Cord Spilker, and MS Nurse Specialist, Liz Watson approached me about a possible service for our MS patients, who were making the journey to a Leeds hospital in order to receive this medication. This was because specialist nursing was needed to meet the criteria required by the drug company.
“We agreed to look into providing a service to repatriate the Bradford patient to our day case unit, to enable patients to receive their life-changing treatment at a hospital near to their home, and I’m thrilled to say this new service is now available in Bradford for them.”
She added that in some cases, the journey to Leeds was taking up to a day with MS patients waiting for transport to convey them there and back again.
“Now our existing patients plus any new patients starting their Tysabri treatment are coming to the St Luke’s unit.
“The new service has really been welcomed by patients who gave it the seal of approval in a recent patient survey. We are pleased to have received some really excellent, positive comments,” she said.
Dr Spilker added: “The transfer of care is making a real difference to our patients because not only do they have the intravenous infusion here in Bradford but that means that they see their regular MS nurses and consultant at the same time too so it really cuts down on appointment and treatment times for them.
“Delivering high quality care as part of the West Yorkshire MS Treatment Programme is a priority for us and we are all really proud of the difference it is making to those patients with MS.”
One patient who is full of praise for the change in location for her Tysabri treatment is 40-year-old Stephanie Murie, of Bingley, who was diagnosed with MS in 2010.
Stephanie said: “Travelling to Leeds was quite exhausting because it did involve a lot of time and it really cut into my day. Being able to have the treatment here in Bradford, at St Luke’s has really made a difference.
“It’s not only a better journey for me but it also means I see my MS consultant and MS nurses at the same time and everyone is so friendly. There is a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and I also get to chat to fellow MS patients.”
Stephanie added that there was also another important bonus of having the intravenous treatment at St Luke’s: “It means I can have an extra hour and a half in bed!” she laughed.