There has been an increase in the number of people in Wales living with multiple sclerosis according to the MS Society.

A recent study highlights an 8 per cent rise in prevalence, amounting to more than 6,100 people, up from more than 5,600 in 2019.

This increase is thought to be due to better diagnosis and people with MS living longer, rather than increased risk factors.

The study not only focuses on Wales but the entire UK, showing an increase of people with MS across all four nations.

Reportedly, more than 150,000 people are living with MS in the UK, a surge of 13 per cent from an estimated 130,000 in 2020.

The study also reveals that around 300 people are diagnosed with MS annually in Wales, most likely in their 30s and 40s.

These updated figures shed light on the pressure on neurology services in the UK, particularly NHS services which are deemed under-resourced.

The UK is ranked 44th out of 45 European nations for the number of neurologists per person with a neurological condition.

With the escalating numbers, the MS Society Cymru urges the Welsh Government to address the lack of neurologists and MS nurses within the Welsh NHS.

A case in point is Thomas Leahy, 36, from Barry who was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2022.

Mr Leahy said: "This news could seem positive on the one hand, because it demonstrates that more people – including myself – are being diagnosed with MS and are being picked up by NHS neurological services."

He emphasised his reliance on prompt diagnosis and treatment for his recovery.

But he cautioned: "We know that is not the universal experience of people with MS across Wales, and that needs urgently addressing at a Welsh and UK Government level."

Emma Tallantyre, consultant neurologist at the University Hospital of Wales, spoke on the importance of updated figures to service planning and clinical research.

She said: "This new data gives credence to a feeling we’ve all had: that MS is becoming more rather than less prevalent."

Ms Tallantyre also stressed the need for growing services to adequately cater to patient needs.

Shelley Elgin, country director of MS Society Cymru, reflected on the numbers.

She said: "These new figures show the number of people living with multiple sclerosis is higher than previously estimated."

Ms Elgin highlighted concerns about decreasing support for MS folks and what that means for the community in Wales.

She urged NHS leaders and the Welsh Government to step up and improve health and care services for MS patients, pointing out the struggles many face in accessing necessary treatment and care.

The data, published by the MS Society, originated from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) Database and is based on patient-provided data collected by the NHS as part of care and support provision.

Those interested in learning more about MS prevalence in Wales and the UK can visit the MS Society's website.