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26 February 2015

Epilepsy debate in House of Commons

Epilepsy Society welcomes  a full and informed debate in the House of Commons this afternoon, calling on the government to address major issues facing people with epilepsy.The debate was led by outgoing MP Laura Sandys, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy, and Cheryl Gillan MP for Chesham and Amersham.

Laura Sandys spoke of her own personal experience of epilepsy and her determination during her term as MP for South Thanet to be the voice of people with epilepsy everywhere who have too often gone unheard.

MPs from all over the country spoke of the moving experiences of families in their constituencies whose lives had been touched by epilepsy, through discrimination, misdiagnosis and avoidable deaths.

Epilepsy research

They called on the government to address the need for greater funding for vital research into epilepsy which could lead to better treatments and ultimately a cure for the condition. They highlighted the need for CCGs across the country to address the need for improved services through focused and informed commissioning and for the need for greater access to specialist epilepsy services within the recommended timelines of the NICE guidelines.

Laura Sandys called on all the epilepsy charities to work together in tackling the issues around epilepsy with MPs praising the work of the charities in supporting people with epilepsy, their families and carers.

Epilepsy Society national centre

Cheryl Gillan highlighted the pioneering work of Epilepsy Society led by medical director Professor Ley Sander and lead geneticist Professor Sanjay Sisodiya. She said the charity had stayed true to its vision of 123 years to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for epilepsy. It had the only MRI in the country dedicated to epilepsy and a national therapeutic drug unit specialising in monitoring anti-epileptic drugs. 'Epilepsy Society is a national centre which is bringing about a revolution in the way in which epilepsy is diagnosed,' she said.

She also called for the 100k genome project which currently focuses on cancers and rare diseases, to embrace epilepsy.

MPs thanked Laura Sandys for the unique contribution she had made during her term  in office to raising the profile of epilepsy, highlighting the need for better health services and for stamping out the continuing problem of stigma.

You can view the debate here.

Follow the debate on twitter at #epilepsydebate15