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Threats to cut epilepsy treatment
Epilepsy Society is alarmed by proposed threats to cut epilepsy surgery and treatment by vagal nerve stimulation.
A report by QIPP Right Care NHS, defining value within health systems, indicates that epilepsy surgery and vagal nerve stimulation are ‘of lower clinical value’.
Professor John Duncan, medical director of Epilepsy Society said: “It appears that QIPP Right Care NHS are suggesting that epilepsy surgery and vagal nerve stimulation are regarded as ‘lower value interventions’ with the implication that these would not be commissioned in the new NHS commissioning arrangements. The basis of these statements is not clear. Both vagal nerve stimulation and epilepsy surgery have been evaluated and are recommended for suitable patients with epilepsy that does not respond to anti-epileptic medication by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines in 2004 and in the 2011 revision.
“At best, it would seem that QIPP Right Care NHS have not had the opportunity to review NICE guidelines or consider the relevant literature. These interventions are life changing and cost effective for many hundreds of individuals every year in the UK and need to be commissioned nationally at specialist epilepsy centres.”
Around three per cent of people with epilepsy benefit from surgery and 70 per cent of those who have surgery become seizure free. About 500 people undergo surgery each year and there is currently a backlog of around 5,000 cases.
Epilepsy Society will be making representations to QIPP Right Care. If you have benefited from epilepsy surgery or vagal nerve stimulation, we would like to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org