Blood monitoring during COVID-19
We know the current disruption to NHS services caused by coronavirus is unsettling. Staff across the NHS are doing their best to tackle the virus and treat patients. Many non-essential NHS services are now closed, and citizens are being asked to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
We understand that people with MS who are on a disease modifying drug (DMD), may be concerned about access to services like blood monitoring at this difficult time. It is important that people on a DMD continue to have their blood monitored for any possible side effects. That’s why NeuroResponse is working with some Trusts in London to develop an alternative blood monitoring service for patients. We’re calling it NeuroResponse @Home.
The @Home service will initially be made available to MS patients taking the DMD known as Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada).
Patients will be advised by their Trust Neurology team if they will be offered the NeuroResponse @Home service. It is important to note that not all MS patients taking Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) at partner Trusts will be referred for the service. This may be because existing or alternative blood monitoring arrangements are in place. If you have any queries you should contact your MS prescribing centre directly.
NeuroResponse @Home gives patients access to a home visit phlebotomy service. Patients will be visited by a trained phlebotomist who will be responsible for taking their blood samples each month. Phlebotomists will have full personal protective equipment (PPE) at every visit. Blood samples will be processed by The Doctors Laboratory, one of London’s leading laboratories. Test results will then be reviewed by a member of the MS team at the patient’s Trust, who will contact the patient if they need to discuss their treatment plan. For more information, please see the video below.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to develop the NeuroResponse @Home service and hope to offer it to more patients, including those from other NHS Trusts. We will keep this website updated with our progress.
It is extremely important that you continue to remain vigilant of any side effect symptoms from your ongoing treatment and report any concerns promptly to your MS team or dial 999 in case of an emergency.
1. How do I access this service?
Your MS team will contact you to advise if your Trust is taking part in the service with advice on how to sign up.
2. Do I have to pay to take part?
The service is completely free and included as part of your routine NHS care.
3. What is the main difference compared to my current blood monitoring arrangements?
NeuroResponse @Home includes a visiting phlebotomy service. This means a trained phlebotomist will visit your home to take your blood samples, instead of you going to your usual clinic to have your blood taken.
4. Will I continue to be a patient at my current hospital or Trust?
Absolutely, this service has been developed in partnership with your MS prescribing centre. Your MS team will still be responsible for reviewing your test results and managing all other aspects of your care.
5. How long will the service last?
We plan to end the service as soon as your blood monitoring arrangements can return to normal. We are monitoring the situation closely with your MS centre and will keep you updated of any progress.
6. Who should I speak to if I want to find out more?
You can contact our Patient Engagement Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone by calling 0300 033 9690. You can also contact your MS team directly.
7. What if I don’t want to be part of this service?
If you do not want to sign up, you should contact your MS team to discuss alternative blood monitoring arrangements as soon as you can.