MEDICAL staff in Barnard Castle have received specialist training to increase their knowledge of multiple sclerosis.

The Friends of the Richardson Hospital contributed £1,500 towards a course for health professionals at the establishment to help staff deal with increasing numbers of MS patients being treated there.

The fundraising group was approached by the Richardson Hospital’s occupational therapy department in a bid to help provide staff with a greater understanding of the condition and increased knowledge of the advances in care.

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Marie Yarker, group chairwoman, said: “We contributed £1,500 to enable the department to pay for a specialist course and accommodation.

“The occupational therapy department at the Richardson is excellent.

“It has better and more modern facilities there than at a lot of bigger hospitals.”

A staff member who attended the course added: “It has given me a sound base of knowledge and was delivered by senior consultants from the main neurological hospitals in England.”

MS affects the central nervous system and is thought to be an organ specific autoimmune disorder but its initiation remains unknown.