Media Release: 50-50 chance of ‘decent epilepsy care’

WITH half of Scotland’s health boards failing to meet national standards, people with seizures have a 50-50 chance of seeing a GP or practice nurse trained in epilepsy – according to Epilepsy Scotland.

Says a spokesperson: “NHS Health Improvement Scotland’s latest report reveals the geographical winners and losers where one in two boards has not been commended for good practice.”

Epilepsy Scotland’s chief executive commented: “Unfortunately, the legacy of under-investment in epilepsy service provision is hitting home.

“People who have or develop epilepsy will be relieved if they live in better-performing health board areas such as NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway, Grampian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Orkney and Tayside. If they stay elsewhere, their GP’s epilepsy knowledge becomes more of a postcode lottery which is unacceptable.

“While the most urgent and difficult cases involving seizures are seen by an expert, this report highlights significant room for improvement before epilepsy service provision reaches an acceptable level.

“We are talking about patchy services for one of the world’s most common neurological conditions which now affects 54,000 people in Scotland. We want and are ready to work with boards with poorer scores and significant knowledge gaps, to help them develop optimal epilepsy care for thousands of individuals.

“No health board, according to the report, consistently provided epilepsy patients with a copy of their management plan, GP letters and formal notification of medication changes. Nor was any integrated neuropsychological and neuropsychiatry service available where people with problematic epilepsy could access additional support.”


Notes to editor

* Epilepsy Scotland works with people affected by epilepsy to ensure that their voice is heard.  We campaign for improved healthcare, better information provision and an end to stigma. This common serious neurological condition affects one in 97 people. We represent the 54,000 people with epilepsy, their families and carers. Our freephone Helpline (0808 800 2200) offers advice, support and information. People can text 07786 209501, email or visit

* NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (NHS HIS) issued the results of a peer review of all 14 health boards’ performance against set standards for neurology services in Scotland in May 2012. (Full report: here)

* This week’s announcement by NHS HIS shows that half of NHS boards need to develop service provision if they are to meet basic standards set for epilepsy management. NHS HIS have recommended that Boards link with NHS Education for Scotland to develop and roll out epilepsy training and education for practice nurses and GPs.  (Full report: here)

* Epilepsy Scotland is pressing all NHS Boards to ensure that they continue to implement all of the epilepsy-specific Clinical Standards. This includes ensuring people with a diagnosis of epilepsy see an Epilepsy Specialist Nurse (ESN) within 30 working days of the initial assessment.

* On 26 June 2012, Epilepsy Scotland launched a three-sector, innovative partnership between pharma companies (Eisai, GSK, UCB Pharma) and NHS Dumfries and Galloway. The charity’s specialist nurse will train and mentor the health board’s primary care health professionals and hospital clinicians in epilepsy awareness. Guidance for local support groups will be developed to help establish a support network. This will empower over 1,500 people locally to better manage their epilepsy. They will be also able to engage with the NHS board and influence the design of future epilepsy services. The result will be to leave a legacy of epilepsy care when the project ends in three years time.

* Epilepsy Scotland is a member of the Neurological Alliance Scotland which is establishing a national neurology advisory group. It is committed to ensuring that the health boards keep their focus firmly on neurological services and that the work of the last two years is built upon to deliver improved care across all neuro-related conditions. Over one million people in Scotland live with a neurological condition.

* For more details please contact: Anissa Tonberg, policy officer or Allana Parker, public affairs officer on: 0141 427 4911. Allana’s mobile 07884 012 147.

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Epilepsy Scotland. You too can post media releases on For more information, email here.

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