McArthur responds to latest figures on incidence rates of Multiple Sclerosis


Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has responded to findings from the Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register 2020 Report which confirm that Orkney had the highest incidence rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) across all health board areas in the last decade.

The report found that between January 2010 and December 2019, Orkney had an incidence rate of 17.51 per 100,000 head of population.  This was significantly higher than second placed Tayside, which had an incidence rate of 12.28.

Commenting on the findings, Mr McArthur said:

“It is well documented that Orkney has one of the highest incidence rates of MS globally, but these latest figures highlight the extent to which that is the case.  While the figures, unfortunately, don’t shed any light on why or what might be done to address the situation, they do provide a compelling argument about the importance of further research.    

“That is not to say that no progress has been made over the last ten years in tacking the condition in Scotland.  We now see earlier diagnosis, wider support being made available and better treatment for those affected. 

“For example, the sanctioning of Ocrelizumab to treat early primary progressive MS earlier this year was a major breakthrough in managing the symptoms of MS.  With more such breakthroughs and continued research, hopefully we will see incidence rates in Orkney, and indeed across Scotland, fall over the next decade. 

“In the meantime, MS Society Orkney continues to do incredible work to support those who are affected locally.  I would encourage anyone who is affected by MS to reach out to them and find out how they can benefit from their invaluable services.”


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