The MS Society has launched a new ‘first-of-its-kind’ online course to combat fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Fatigue is commonly referred to as one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of the disease - it’s an invisible symptom which affects over 80% of those living with the condition, and is one of the main reasons people have to give up work.

The society says that the free-to-use course was designed in collaboration with patients, is based on a programme of face-to-face workshops known as FACETS (Fatigue: Applying Cognitive behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to life Style).

The online course is a result of demand from healthcare professionals, who wanted the organisation to translate their pre-existing six face-to-face workshops – which cost an estimated £453 per person – into accessible online sessions that will allow more people with MS access to them.

The online sessions, lasting 20 minutes each, aim to normalise the effects of MS fatigue, using strategies and techniques like the Cognitive Behavioural Model to teach people with MS to recognise unhelpful thought patterns and provide techniques to overcome these.

Nick Moberly, chief executive of the MS Society, says: “More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and, while it is unpredictable and different for everyone, fatigue affects around 80% of us living with the condition. We get over 100,000 visits to the fatigue pages on our website each year, so were thrilled to work with researchers at Bournemouth University to create a new, much-needed tool that offers improved support.

“We’re confident it will go a long way to helping thousands of people living with the debilitating effects of daily MS fatigue, and incredibly grateful to those living with MS who helped shaped the user experience.”

The MS Society hopes that the new online function will relieve pressure on healthcare professionals, and could result in significant cost savings for the NHS as demand for the face-to-face programme lessens.