Friday 30 September 2016

BBC correspondent Caroline Wyatt steps down following multiple sclerosis diagnosis

'The diagnosis came as a relief as it enables me to have treatment,' Wyatt says

Maya Oppenheim

Published 15/06/2016 | 11:54

Caroline Wyatt
Caroline Wyatt

The BBC’s religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt is to step down from her position after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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Wyatt, who has worked at the corporation for more than twenty years, has had the condition for 25 years but was only diagnosed with it at the end of last year. She recently announced she had been off work because of the illness on social media.

The veteran reporter said she was very sad to be stepping down but had been overwhelmed with the amount of support she had received.

“I have been utterly overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from my colleagues, friends and family in recent days and months, and am so grateful for the support the BBC is giving me while I recover from my current relapse,” Wyatt said in a statement.

“I have lived with the condition for the past 25 years, so the diagnosis came as a relief as it enables me to have treatment and to do all I can to manage it,” she added. “I am tremendously sad to be stepping down from my current specialism as BBC religious affairs correspondent at a time that understanding religion has rarely been more important.”

Since starting as a trainee at the corporation in the 1990s, she has gone on to report from all corners of the world. As the BBC foreign correspondent, she reported on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the conflicts in Kosovo and Chechnya and later the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as BBC Defence Correspondent.

On Tuesday, the BBC’s Head of Newsgathering Jonathan Munro announced the news and commended Wyatt’s long-running contribution to the BBC.

“A few months ago, Caroline was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis - a condition she has battled with for many years,” Munro said in a statement sent to The Independent.

“As you will appreciate, MS is a complex condition but specialists agree that more predictable working patterns are important to managing the symptoms. For that reason, Caroline has decided to step down as Religious Affairs Correspondent for BBC News with immediate effect.”

After the summer, Wyatt will return to the airwaves as a presenter on BBC Radio Four and the World Service. She will also have occasional reporting roles for television where they are suited to her medical advice.

“When I return to work in the autumn, I am really looking forward to starting a new chapter as a presenter for BBC Radio, and I hope in the future to raise both awareness and money for more research into MS,” Wyatt said.

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