About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information from the Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register (SMSR) on all patients with a confirmed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) from January 2010 to December 2020. Additional COVID-19 test and vaccination data were collected from March 2020 – March 2021.

Read this year's full report (external website).

Main points

  • In 2020, 450 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 11 year period to 5270.
  • The annual incidence shows twice as many females than males were diagnosed with MS.
  • In line with previous findings, the average annual incidence of MS per population in the six most northern NHS Boards was greater than the average for the eight southern NHS boards.
  • The proportion of newly diagnosed patients receiving contact with a MS specialist nurse within 10 working days of diagnosis, increased from 83.5% in 2019 to 87.1% in 2020.
  • Once a referral was received by the MS specialist nurse, 99.3% of patients were contacted within 10 working days, an improvement from 99.1% last year.
  • COVID-19 test and vaccination data were collated from March 2020 – March 2021. There were 5196 tests resulting in 210 positive results.
  • As at 31 March 2021, 90% of people with MS reported in the Scottish MS Register had received their first covid-19 vaccine and 59% had also received their second.


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

Watch the following animation to find out more information on this year's report:

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

The next update for this publication will be July 2022.

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: 07 October 2022
Was this page helpful?