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Health minister will consult nurses about frontline epilepsy services
The health minister Ann Keen recently visited the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) where she heard first hand about the lack of NHS care for people with the condition.
During her visit she pledged to meet with epilepsy specialist nurses in an effort to improve services for people with the condition.
Ann Keen, herself a nurse, said she wanted to meet with epilepsy specialist nurses, to find out how a better service could be delivered.
She said: "Patient safety is paramount - if having more nurses means that people are safer then we have to do something. I look forward to meeting with epilepsy nurses to find out how staff on the frontline feel services can be improved for patients."
NICE guidelines state that epilepsy specialist nurses should be an integral part of the medical team providing care to people with epilepsy.
However, in reality, more than half of acute trusts and primary care trusts do not have an epilepsy specialist nurse.
At the meeting, the Minister also said she was intending to ask the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of epilepsy services and the application of the NICE guidelines.
NSE chief executive Graham Faulkner said: "NSE and other members of the Joint Epilepsy Council have been working for some years to make the government sit up and take notice of epilepsy. There is a compelling economic case for investment in improved services that will not only benefit people with the condition but which will also save the Government money. I really feel that at long last there is a willingness and recognition on the part of the Department of Health to embrace the need for reform of epilepsy services."
Update on 10 December 2009
Ann Keen has set a date for her meeting with epilepsy specialist nurses. The meeting will be held on 18 January 2010.