At a local level, MS Ireland’s advocacy agenda focusses on the range of individual issues faced by our clients. Our team of Regional Community Workers work closely with people to identify their needs and find solutions.
At a national level, MS Ireland’s advocacy agenda is based on significant national policies and decisions that affect the entire MS community.
In 2016, MS Ireland produced an Advocacy Statement which outlined 6 key priority areas for advocacy and campaigning. The 6 key areas in the statement are:
- Neurorehabilitation services
- Investment in neurology services
- Access to medicines
- Housing Adaptation grants and Home Care Packages
- Medical cards
Download MS Ireland's Advocacy Statement
MS Ireland has produced an Advocacy Strategy, which outlines MS Ireland’s advocacy priorities for the lifetime of the current Strategic Plan. In addition this document outlines the activities that will be undertaken to achieve these priorities.
Download MS Ireland's Advocacy Strategy
MS Ireland also produces organisational position papers which explain our stance on various issues relating to MS and suggest realistic solutions. You can download our position papers below:
- MS Patient Registries (.pdf, 333KB)
- Budget 2017 (.pdf, 209KB)
- Cannabis-based Medicinal Products (.pdf, 312KB)
- Home Care and Personal Assistance Services (pdf, 338KB)
- Neurorehabilitation (.pdf, 332KB)
- Robotic Walking Devices (.pdf, 322KB)
- Stem Cell Research (.pdf, 317KB)
- Treatment and Care Decisions in Advanced Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (.pdf, 333KB)
Creating awareness of MS and educating the public and our representatives about MS is a key aspect of advocating. The more people are aware of MS and the issues people with MS face, the more opportunity we have to encourage people to help us change the system.
Partnerships and collaborations
We also work with various other organisations who have similar advocacy agendas. Below are some of the partnerships, collaborations and working groups we are involved in:
We work with the NAI and their other member organisations on various issues of common interest, including neurorehabilitation and investment in neurology services. You can read more about NAI’s various campaigns here
We participate in various campaigns with DFI including their ‘Disable Inequality’ campaign. Our Information, Advocacy and Research Officer Aoife also works closely with individual staff members in DFI on various issues including employment, housing and assistive technology.
MS Ireland is a partner for the yearly awareness campaign Carers Week. We are also members of Care Alliance’s Research Advisory Group which is an opportunity to identify issues of common interest relating to carers and develop policy and advocacy responses to them.
MS Ireland attends board meetings of the MRCG and we also sit on their Communications and Advocacy Working Group. This gives us the chance to feed into MRCG’s policy and advocacy work on issues such as government investment in medical research and development of patient registries.
MS Ireland is now a member of the HSE National Patients’ Forum. It is envisaged that this Forum will become the first point of reference for HSE divisions and clinical care programmes when seeking an input from patients/service users in the planning, design and delivery of services and will act as a sounding board for implementation of new and existing national programmes. As a result of membership of the Forum we have been in a position to submit questions directly to members of the HSE senior management team and also make a submission to the Clinical Advisory Group which is looking at the issue of discretionary medical cards.
MS Ireland is a member of the Community Living Task Group which has been set up as part of the strategy to deliver the National Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities. This will be an opportunity for us to feed into policy relating to the provision of accommodation for people with disabilities.