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Update – Ocrelizumab for Primary Progressive MS in Canterbury

May 29, 2024 | Life with MS, News, Progressive, Treatments

On Wednesday 15 May, Multiple Sclerosis NZ raised how critical workforce shortages are impacting patients with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) access to time sensitive disease modifying therapies. A business case prepared by clinical specialists had been under review for five months asking for more resourcing to meet patient needs and ensure safe levels of working for staff and patients.

MSNZ has been advised that clinical specialists at Canterbury Waitaha have been instructed to commence patients with PPMS through assessment and treatment minimising further delay. We are extremely pleased at this positive outcome for people in the Canterbury Regions with the most progressive form of MS.

We understand that those patients who have undergone a neurology assessment and been approved for treatment can expect to receive their infusions within the next few months. Patients who are still waiting for assessment, having been referred to Neurology, will be contacted regarding timelines for review.

If you have been assessed or still waiting, you will be contacted soon with further information. We note the Neurology and Infusion teams are under pressure currently and will be making every effort to expedite this process for you.

GPs are recommended to refer to CIS/MS Management on Community Health Pathway’s for more information regarding patient referrals.

We are delighted at this outcome for patients who will soon be able to access funded treatment, hopefully slowing or halting the progression of their condition.

However, MSNZ is deeply disappointed that no additional resourcing has been made available to critically under resourced specialist teams, who are working under immense pressure and strain. We urge Canterbury Waitaha and Te Whatu Ora to continue to take into consideration the desperate need for more resources. MS is in many cases a manageable condition with early diagnosis and access to treatment. Time matters in MS and central to this is ensuring effective staffing levels.

MSNZ remains committed to advocating for improved staffing levels among the neurological workforce nationally to optimise long term brain health outcomes for people with MS.