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If you are living with MS but have questions, or want another perspective, on your diagnosis, the management of your condition or the way your MS is impacting your life, a visit to our clinic might be helpful.
Our clinic is especially for:
- Anyone suspected of having MS or those seeking a second opinion on their diagnosis.
- Anyone with MS who is noticing lots of activity in their MS, such as new symptoms, relapses or changes seen in MRI scans with or without treatment.
- People with MS who feel they have uncontrolled symptoms or condition progression.
We’re delighted you want to come and see us. Please either call or email us to let us know.
We will ask you to send information about your condition including your previous tests, medical records and other notes you think might be helpful for us. We will provide you with a questionnaire to fill out for us to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Dr Al-Araji will review all your documents and suggest a plan for the assessment package which could include further MRIs or other tests, and the range of professionals you will meet with during your one-stop clinic session.
We’ll let you know the cost of the assessment package and once agreed and paid, we will book your clinic date with you.
- Referral letter from your doctor
- Copies of all available previous clinic letters and medical reports
- Copies of all available laboratory results and scans reports
- All available MRI scans to be uploaded on a special secure website
- A tailored form that we will send you to fill about your condition
Our assessment will last for 2-4 hours or longer and will be carried out in a ‘one-stop’ multi-disciplinary clinic session, and will include:
- a full neurological examination including use of the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)
- tests (e.g. blood or urine), if needed
- MRI imaging, if needed
- clinical interviews with members of our team as you need (MS neurologist and MS specialist nurse is the standard), (from continence to mental health)
- others might include a neuro-physiotherapist, clinical psychologist or others, if needed
As with all personalised plans, your treatment plan will be specific to you and your needs. It is likely to include some or all of the following, however:
- Suggested drug treatment for your symptoms
- Suggested treatment for a relapse
- Suggestion to start/continue/switch treatment with a disease modifying therapy (DMT) if needed
- Suggested neuro-physiotherapy treatment depending on the stage of your condition
- Advice on managing any comorbidities (other conditions you might have alongside your MS)
- Advice on any lifestyle changes including sleep, stress, movement and nutrition
The cost of your suggested treatments will not be included in the assessment package. If, after discussing and agreeing your treatment plan, you decide you would like your treatment delivered with us privately rather than with your local provider, we can discuss the costs associated with that.
A second opinion, particularly from a super-specialist team who will be looking at your experiences and symptoms from multiple angles, might help with any of the following things:
- Make sure your diagnosis is correct
- Help you understand your condition better
- Give you the time and variety of professionals to get answers to your questions
- Help you to take control by becoming an informed and active partner in your healthcare
- Enable you to find peace of mind
- Make sure you have a treatment plan that is best for your condition
- Give you an opportunity to learn about the results of the most recent clinical trials applied to you
Unsure whether your experience is of MS or not?
MS is usually easy to diagnose when people present with ‘typical’ symptoms and when their MRI scans show the ‘typical’ findings. By ‘typical’ we mean the symptoms and scan results that are most commonly found in someone recently diagnosed. This diagnosis is sometimes supported by the results of a spinal fluid examination.
Sometimes it is more difficult to be certain of a diagnosis, especially early on in the condition, or when people are experiencing more unusual symptoms and signs. If this is the case, a longer discussion with an MS expert combined with specialist testing can usually help to confirm if a diagnosis is accurate or not.
Occasionally MRI scans, which can be done for any number of reasons, can show incidental findings that look like – or can be misinterpreted as – MS. This can be really distressing and sometimes lead to mis-diagnosis. This is a common reason for a referral to specialist MS neurologists, and might be a very good reason to visit our clinic.
We believe that shared decision-making between our patients and our team is the best pathway to an optimal treatment plan. Everyone’s situation is unique, and we know the best approach is one that is tailored to each individual’s specific needs and experience. This is known as ‘personalised treatment’, or ‘person-centred care’ – and for us it comes as standard practice.
There are scientific reasons for this approach too including the complexity of MS’s genetic make-up, the researched variability of individual response to treatments. The evidence from clinical trials around how safe and effective a treatment is uses a group model but treatments must be made on an individual basis, and this calls for a personalised medicine approach.
We treat our patients with compassion, dignity, respect and kindness. We act with honesty and integrity towards our patients, their families and friends. To work as the most effective team possible, we do need to share information about our clients clearly and accurately with each other. Understanding this, we:
- Take confidentiality very seriously, and every member of the team works under the same obligations to patient privacy that apply to all registered healthcare professionals in the UK.
- Make sure all of our records are securely stored and no information about patients is ever discussed or made available to anyone outside the team without specific permission.
- Can assure you that every team member is fully accredited by their recognised statutory professional body and bound by the strict ethical code.
- Make sure that the focus on clinical governance is kept and carried out to provide the highest UK standards of healthcare.
Stem cell therapy for MS is an area of study that has huge potential. It is developing very quickly, as is our understanding of its safety.
Research in the last 20 years has made a strong case for using stem cell therapy very selectively, specifically for people with highly active MS who do not respond or are unsuitable for the largely effective MS immune-treatments.
The safety of stem cell therapy has improved in the last few years, but it is still a potentially dangerous procedure and there is a significant risk of either long-lasting complications or even death.
During your full assessment in our clinic when we really understand your experience of MS, we can discuss whether this treatment would be suitable for you to think about. If you are interested, we will then refer you to the appropriate internationally-accredited Centre.
Yes, you do. To help make sure you get the future treatment and monitoring we agree on together, it is very important that your GP or local healthcare professional are informed and can help make sure you can access it.
When you talk to our office, we will agree the most secure and confidential way to transfer your documents with you to make sure you are comfortable and confident doing this.
A ‘one-stop’ clinic simply means one clinic which meets all your needs, and where you can access each and every healthcare professional you might need in that one visit to us. It is usual for a holistic assessment like this to take anywhere between two and four hours.
It is also possible that we will need you to come along earlier than your clinic time for your investigations, to make sure we can have all the relevant support in place for you at your clinic.
To find out more, read ‘what will be included in my assessment package’ or meet the professionals who make up our team to understand who you might see at our clinic.
For any more information, to discuss the process further or to book an appointment, get in touch with us via email or phone.
We will request a referral letter from your doctor, information about your experience of MS, and copies of any previous testing you have had. Dr Al-Araji will review all of your documents and suggest a plan for your assessment package. [See FAQ ‘What will be included in my assessment package?’]
The cost of the assessment package will be communicated with you, and a clinic visit date will be agreed on payment.
Our clinic welcomes referrals from outside the UK. We will do everything possible to make sure we help you send your documents ahead of time in a secure and confidential way.
We can provide any support needed to reach our clinic and we can offer you an interpretation service if you ask us in advance.
If you prefer to have your suggested treatments in the UK, we will quote you the fee to do so through our clinic with your medical report.
The team is ready to listen, understand and co-create a bespoke treatment plan for anyone living with MS. Read more about what you can expect at a visit to our clinic.