Photo: Man pushing his wife in wheelchair

MS in the UK

We estimate there are over 130,000 people with MS in the UK, and that nearly 7,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. We use our evidence to better understand the needs and lived experiences of people with MS in the UK.
Infographic showing MS prevalance in UK

Incidence and prevalence

We estimate there are over 130,000 people with MS in the UK, and that nearly 7,000 people are newly diagnosed each year.

This means that around one in every 500 people in the UK has MS, and that each week, 130 people are diagnosed with MS.

We worked with Public Health England to develop these estimates. You can read their report for England on the gov.uk website.

Download our incidence and prevalence report

Cost of MS

Understanding the cost of MS to each person, to the health and care system and society in general is important. It can help us to make effective use of resources so we can provide better outcomes for people with MS.

One study estimated the average cost in the UK of MS per person, per year as:

  • £11,400 for people with mild levels of disability
  • £22,700 for people with medium levels of disability
  • £36,500 for people with advanced disability.

Other studies put these costs as even higher, particularly for people with advanced disability. Living with advanced disability can cost more because of higher community services and informal care costs, and absence or exit from employment.

Reference: Thompson A, Kobelt G, Berg J et al. New insights into the burden and costs of multiple sclerosis in Europe: Results for the United Kingdom. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 2017, Vol. 23(2S) 204–216.

My MS My Needs

In 2015 we worked with our community to develop seven goals. Three of those are

  • effective treatments
  • responsive care and support
  • and independent lives

To be able to judge if we're achieving these goals, we knew we had to understand the experiences of our community in depth.

My MS My Needs: findings from our 2019 survey

My MS My Needs is one of the largest surveys of people affected by MS in the UK. In 2019, an incredible 8,369 people living with MS responded to it – a huge thank you if you were one of them.

The full launch of our My MS My Needs findings has been delayed due to COVID-19 coronavirus. Right now, we’re focusing on supporting the MS community through this challenging time. We’re sharing the most accurate, up to date information, connecting people in the MS community and providing practical help and support.

Our MS Society medical advisors are closely following what’s happening with MS treatments and COVID-19 coronavirus. You can find our information page here, which is updated regularly.

We’ll be monitoring the situation to find a better time to launch our full findings and raise these with decision-makers.

Meanwhile, you can also read reflections on the early findings from Caroline Howlett, who lives with MS and volunteered with the survey team.

Read the early results from My MS My Needs 2020

Download our My MS My Needs reports

Black and white photo of man with his back to the camera raising his right arm

Loneliness and isolation

We surveyed people with MS to find out if they have ever felt lonely or isolated, and whether being part of a local group helped.

Key findings from our loneliness report

Our report showed that:

  • 3 in 5 people have felt lonely as a result of their MS
  • 3 in 4 people who have felt lonely as a result of their MS say being part of an MS Society local group as reduced feelings of loneliness.
  • More than half of people have felt isolated as a result of their MS.
  • 3 in 4 people who have felt isolated as a result of their MS say being part of an MS Society local group reduced feelings of isolation.

Download our loneliness report