About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information from the Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register (SMSR) on all patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) from January 2010 to December 2019 as confirmed by a neurologist.

The full report is available on the Scottish MS Register website (external website).


Main points

  • In 2019, 535 new patients with a confirmed diagnosis of MS were added to the MS Register. This brings the total number of patients newly diagnosed and reported over the nine-year period to 4814.
  • The annual incidence in 2019 shows that for every man there were over 1.9 women diagnosed with MS.
    In line with previous findings, the average annual incidence of MS in the six most northern NHS Boards was greater than the average for the eight southern NHS Boards.
On the left, a heat map of Scotland highlighting the average annual incidence per 100,000 population, broken down by NHS board. On the right, a table showing the Average annual incidence figures per 100,000 population by NHS board. Starting with the highest; NHS Orkney 17.51; NHS Tayside 12.28; NHS Highland 11.80; NHS Western Isles 11.78; NHS Ayrshire & Arran 10.49; NHS Fife 10.44; NHS Shetland 10.38; NHS Grampian 9.63; NHS Dumfries & Galloway 8.86; NHS Forth Valley 8.84; NHS Lanarkshire 7.67; NHS Lothian 7.54; NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde 7.48; NHS Borders 7.08. The number for Scotland is 8.96.
  • The proportion of newly diagnosed patients receiving contact with a MS specialist nurse within 10 working days of diagnosis, increased from 79.2% in 2018 to 83.9% in 2019.
  • Once a referral was received by the MS specialist nurse, 99.1% of patients were contacted within 10 working days, an improvement from 98.2% last year.
Image caption Percentage of patients with a new diagnosis of MS contacted by a MS specialist nurse within 10 working days of confirmed diagnosis and percentage contacted within 10 working days from receipt of referral
Screen shot from accompanying dashboard showing the percentage of patients with a new diagnosis of MS, contacted by MS specialist nurse within 10 working days of confirmed diagnosis. Also shows the percentage contacted within 10 working days from receipt of referral.

Note: These figures exclude paediatric patients (8); patients that have refused contact with MS specialist nurse (33) and cases for which we hold a missing year of diagnosis (1) over the period 2010-2019.


The Scottish MS Register is a national register within the Scottish National Audit Programme at Public Health Scotland. The aim of the Register is to improve healthcare for people living with MS in Scotland. Establishing the incidence and interpreting the implications of its demography allows us to facilitate service evaluation and drive health improvement. The data on which this report is produced are provided by neurologists and MS clinical teams via a standard electronic proforma which incorporates the patient journey from referral to diagnosis, including referral to a MS specialist nurse.

Further information

Further information and the full report can be found on the SMSR website (external website).

The next update for this publication will be July 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.scottishmsregister@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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