Computer tablet aid for MS patients in rural Wales

MS patient using Image copyright ABMU health board
Image caption Specialist MS nurse Sue Mullock with consultant neurologist Dr Owen Pearson

People with multiple sclerosis living in rural parts of Wales have turned to technology to avoid too many trips to hospital.

In the past, MS patients in south west and mid Wales would have to travel to see the MS team based at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Now consultants are offering remote aid using computer tablet technology.

Dr Owen Pearson, consultant neurologist at the hospital, said it meant easier access to specialist services.

The MS team has now won the best poster award at the national MS Trust Conference for its work developing the mobile techonolgy clinics.

'Big commitment'

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord and people with the condition can often have sight or mobility problems.

Lead MS specialist nurse Helen Owen said patients often needed to be seen regularly to ensure their treatment and injections are okay.

"They are seen one month after they start, then eight weeks after that and then three months so it's a big commitment to make," she said.

"If they live in rural areas the condition of the roads could make attendance difficult, then there is their disability to consider."

The team bought the iPads last year for patients in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board areas.

Dr Pearson added that a recent MS Society report raised the difficulties people with MS living in rural areas face in accessing specialist services.

"The introduction of modern technology into clinical practice has improved this access," he added.

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