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Epilepsy postcode lottery for children
Leading doctors have warned of a postcode lottery of care for children with epilepsy.
The standard of care patients receive is 'variable', according to a national audit of epilepsy services for young people.
The report, conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, found 'significant gaps' between recommended practice and delivered practice throughout the UK, according to Press Association.
The college said that two in five children do not see a paediatric neurologist when required and 47 per cent of units did not have a specialist epilepsy nurse.
Paediatrician and report author Dr Colin Dunkley said: 'We've seen marked steps forward in epilepsy care for children in recent years - the majority of children are now being seen by paediatricians with expertise and many are getting detailed diagnoses and being prescribed the most appropriate medicines first time.'
Standards of care for epilepsy
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: 'The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is developing quality standards for epilepsy services which will provide a benchmark of what patients can expect, and under the Government's healthcare reforms, the NHS Commissioning Board has plans to help tackle the unacceptable variation in neurological services, including epilepsy, that is available to patients in different parts of the country.'
On behalf of Neurological Commissioning Support, Epilepsy Society has recently undertaken audits of adult epilepsy services in five GP surgeries in the south of England. The final results have yet to be published but the audit has found:-
- Only 12per cent of patients had access to an epilepsy specialist nurse
- Over 40per cent of patients with epilepsy were reported as not being seizure free
- Some patients had not had a medication review for over two years
- There was evidence of the use of polytherapy, treatment with more than one type of anti -epilepsy drug (AED) , for approx 25 per cent of patients and yet many of these were still experiencing repeated seizures with no follow up referrals having been made to a tertiary centre
Author: Angie King