Saskatoon

Multiple sclerosis panel asks for more specialists, researchers

The Multiple Sclerosis Advisory Panel is asking for a number of improvements, including a strategy to recruit and retain neurologists and create an MS Clinical Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan government promises to create advisory council, registry of people diagnosed with MS

Brain scans of a multiple sclerosis patient. (CBC)

An advisory panel is asking Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health for improvements in how it cares for patients with multiple sclerosis.

The 11-person panel is making nine recommendations, including a strategy to recruit and retain specialist neurologists and a new position for an MS Clinical Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan.

"There is an opportunity to make Saskatchewan into a centre that strives toward excellence in neurological research and clinical care," said panel member and Saskatoon MS Clinic Director Dr. Katherine Knox in a news release.  

The health ministry has promised to immediately put in place two of the recommendations, which are creating an advisory council on neurological diseases that can advise the ministry, and creating a registry of people in the province diagnosed with MS. That registry can be used to keep track of what residents would be eligible for medical treatment if a new treatment was found.

"I accept all the recommendations and I agree in general with the recommendations," said Health Minister Dustin Duncan. He said he believes Saskatchewan can become a leader in MS research.

"It's a very competitive world when it comes to research," he said. "We have a lot of advantages that we can offer in Saskatchewan in terms of our research community."

About 3,700 people in Saskatchewan are affected by the degenerative disease.

The MS panel was created by the province in 2014 to improve care for patients and quality of life.

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