LONDON, October 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The MS Society has cautiously welcomed today's proposals from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) to scrap the current care rationing system used by local authorities.

The charity, which represents the at least 85,000 people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), has said that the Government must now act on expert proposals to address the crisis in social care where people in need of care are slipping through the net.

In its report on reforming the Fair Access to Care Services system, the social care regulator calls for an end to the postcode lottery in access to council-funded care services.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, said: These proposals are laudable, but until the social care system receives the funding it needs, rationing in one form or another is unavoidable.

Access to good care services can help people with MS live independent lives and maximise the number of people able to stay in work. Restricting this access is short-sighted and a self-defeating solution.

Older and disabled people are increasingly reporting difficulties in accessing the care they need and there are enormous discrepancies across the country. This problem was recognised by the Department of Health in January 2008, when it commissioned this review.

Changes in the Fair Access to Care Services criteria used by local authorities means that people with so-called 'low' or 'moderate' care needs - such as help with housework and shopping - are increasingly excluded from local authority funded services.

By reducing access to services, CSCI has shown that local authorities are creating a larger and more expensive demand for health and social care in the future.

Simon added: The Government is quite rightly taking some time to plan a social care system that is sustainable in the long term - but action has to follow. There's no easy way to bring more money into the system, and procrastination won't make this problem go away.

For some time, the MS Society has campaigned to raise awareness of people with MS who were being left out in the cold by a shift in the social care eligibility criteria used by local authorities.

Notes to Editors:

- The MS Society ( is the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS, providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS nurses and funds more than 50 vital MS research projects in the UK. - Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults and an estimated 85,000 people in the UK have MS. - MS is the result of damage to myelin - the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system - which interferes with messages between the brain and the body. - For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. - Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.

For media enquiries please contact the MS Society Press Office on +44(0)20-8438-0840, or the out of hours duty press officer on +44(0)7909-851401.