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 2021. Additional COVID-19 test and vaccination data were collected from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2021.

You can download a transcript of this video.

Main points

  • In 2021, 578 new patients with a confirmed diagnosis of MS were added to the SMSR. This brings the total number of patients newly diagnosed and reported over the twelve-year period to 5,878.
  • In line with previous findings, the annual incidence shows over twice as many females than males were diagnosed with MS.
Image caption Percentage of people with a new diagnosis of MS contacted by a MS specialist nurse within 10 days of confirmed diagnosis Vs percentage contacted within 10 days from receipt of referral. 1

1   These figures exclude paediatric patients (12), patients that have refused contact with MS specialist nurses (33) and cases for which we hold a missing year of the patient's diagnosis (4) over the period 2010-2021.

  • The proportion of newly diagnosed patients receiving contact with a MS specialist nurse within 10 working days of diagnosis, increased from 85.4% in 2020 to 88.2% in 2021.
  • Once a referral was received by the MS specialist nurse, 99% of patients were contacted within 10 working days, slightly less than 99.6% last year.
  • COVID-19 test and vaccination data were collated from January 2021 – December 2021. There were 10,277 PCR tests carried out on SMSR patients, resulting in 837 positive results.
  • As at 31 December 2021, 87.8% of people with MS reported in the SMSR had received their second COVID-19 vaccine and 76.4% had also received their third primary or booster.
Image caption Cumulative COVID-19 vaccine uptake over time for SMSR patients


The Scottish MS Register is a national register within the Scottish National Audit Programme at Public Health Scotland. The aim of the SMSR 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 Redcap (an electronic data collection system), which incorporates the patient journey from referral to diagnosis, including referral to a MS specialist nurse.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be July 2023.

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: 19 July 2022
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