health care staff

I have lost confidence in my healthcare (MS nurses, GP and other GP surgery staff), though my MS neuro seems to be well informed. My previous general neuros have not been so. I am not really sure how to make this better and it causes me some anxiety.

I found out today a health care assistant (HCA) at my GP surgery tested my urine sample for infection. I assumed a nurse would be doing this test, but was advised the HCA’s do it at my surgery.

So I’ve been looking into the role of HCA’s and AP’s (assistant practitioners) and their training. They cost less to employ than nurses.

The thing that concerns me is the GP’s at my GP surgery do not seem that knowledgeable about MS. So I wonder about the HCA’s.

I looked on the RCN website and it stated this:

“There are no specific national requirements for becoming an HCA. You simply need to apply for a job as one. Once you have been accepted, your employer will provide the training you need. You should consider getting work experience before you apply so you’ll know what it’s like to work in health care.”

hi lenney

my ms specialist neuro is very good and my ms nurses are fab.

my gp is not that good though and i rarely go.

i had a really good gp who saw me through diagnosis but he left to start his own practise in another town.

how i miss doctor chan!!

it sounds like a cost cutting exercise having HCA’s instead of nurses.

like in education when teaching assistants replaced nursery nurses. Boo and poo!!

carole xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Reading a basic urine dip test isn’t a skilled job. Why pay someone with a nursing degree to do something you or I could do perfectly well if someone had taken 10 minutes to show us how?

It is rare for a GP to know much about MS, by the way, unless they happen to have had patients who have it. Most haven’t (one or two in the course of GP career is typical), and their awareness (such as it is) comes from a half-remembered lecture about common neurological complaints delivered after lunch in an over-heated and under-ventilated lecture room on a wet Wednesday afternoon in second year in 1988. Lenney, your GP has probably learned more from you then he/she has remembered from that!



Hi Lenney

I tend to agree with Alison. Testing urine samples is a very basic job. One that I can do perfectly well myself. So using an HCA to do the job seems quite sensible to me. And freeing up the medically qualified for more useful jobs also appears to be quite a sensible thing. When GP surgeries are overrun with patients and nursing staff are in such short supply is seems an excellent plan to use non medical staff to do these sorts of job.

I’ve generally found that my GPs have learnt loads about MS just from treating me. I’ve taught them about DMDs, FES, symptoms and symptom control drugs. None of my GPs have been MS specialists, but have been ready to work with me on the various problems if had over years.

At least you have an MS specialist neurologist. That’s often half the battle won, just having one specialist on your side who’s knowledgeable about MS.



I had such a pigs ear introduction to MS, the GP (in another town) had no idea what he was doing when I presented severe symptoms. I made formal complaints about him.

Urine testing is easy when you know how, I guess my concern is because infections can trigger relapses (on Barts blog etc) it is important there are no mistakes made which have been done on the past. I dropped in a urine sample off once at GP surgery for a relapse, they forgot to test it, then it was the weekend, so it was not sent off to the lab. They said the sample was then too old to test and to come down with another urine sample three days later. It was a joke.

I also am on Tecfidera and the PML infection concerns. I know how to test urine now but I didn’t for two years from when I first got MS.

Hello lenney, Ive worked oin the NHS for 35 years, and am now a band 7 . The NHS wouldnt cope without the Health care assistants, They have taught me so much over the years. Their roles are strictly monitored and they are there to support the trained staff . although they might do the tests, they report all their findings back to the trained staff.

I think when you lose faith in a team, you become hypervigilant . If you think about it, Ms affects 1in 1000 and no 2 people have the same symptoms, so its unlikely that a Gp will have had that much experience. but its ok because thats what our neuros and ms nurses are for,

I eventually was referred to the MS specialist team instead of the general neuros and it has been life changing. Its a shame you have lost faith in your MS nurse, can this be rectified or could you ask for another?

Good luck,


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Thanks for your responses. I didn’t have an MS nurse for a long time as I was initially diagnosed ‘possible MS’ and was told there is no funding for me to see an MS nurse until I have a definite MS diagnosis. I don’t think what I was told is correct.