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Cauda equina syndrome: MPS improves NHS Choices advice

Post date: 06/08/2018 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 28/12/2018

After previously rewriting the NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary on cauda equina syndrome (CES) red flags, an MPS medical claims adviser has gone one step further by improving the public information available through NHS Choices.

Dr Philip White, who has worked for MPS for more than two years and is a former GP, has already shared his unique medicolegal expertise to revise the Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS) red flag symptoms for cauda equina syndrome. The changes will help healthcare professionals diagnose the condition and make referrals earlier, enabling prevention of irreversible nerve damage and disability.

Dr White has now worked with NHS Choices to update its sciatica page, widening the awareness of CES to the general public and supporting the NHS in maintaining the quality of its patient information. The heightened public awareness and knowledge of the symptoms of CES means there is also an additional reduced risk for doctors, as patients are now more likely to volunteer defining symptoms or even give the actual diagnosis. 

Dr White said: “With cauda equina syndrome being such a severe, rare and complex condition, I was pleased to use our expertise to improve the situation for patients as well as doctors.

“NHS Choices information does not appear to get automatically updated on the back of any CKS changes, so I contacted them personally to ensure the information available to patients now matches what is available to doctors. All medically qualified staff at MPS are as committed to maintaining the highest medical professional standards as they were when in clinical practice, and this is an example of that in action.”

About cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare and severe narrowing of the spinal canal usually caused by a prolapsed intervertebral disc. The bundle of delicate nerves in the lower back, known as the ‘cauda equina’ (horse’s tail), suddenly becomes compressed, causing problems such as numbness and weakness in the legs, genital numbness and between the legs, not being able to urinate normally or control the bladder, and loss of bowel sensation and control. The condition can progress quickly, and requires emergency hospital admission and surgery if the damage is not to be permanent.

We have published numerous case reports on cauda equina syndrome – search for the condition by name on our website.

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