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Epilepsy national commissioning nurse talks about her new role

The first ever 'national' commissioning nurse for epilepsy has been appointed. As Sapphire Nurse Consultant for Epilepsy Commissioning, Juliet Ashton will be providing expert advice and support to Clinical Commissioning Groups.  The aim of this is to improve local services and outcomes for people with epilepsy.

The role is the first of its kind for neurology. It is the brain child of voluntary organisations  Neurological Commissioning Support and Epilepsy Action. Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action are providing the funding.

Juliet has more than 25 years' experience in neurology nursing, including specialist nursing roles in multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury and Parkinson's.

Specialist nursing roles

Juliet said: 'More recently I've been involved in the setting up of the "epilepsy alliance" between the Epilepsy Specialist Nurse Association and Epilepsy Action. This role is taking that work one step further.

'I feel privileged to have been appointed to the first nurse commissioning role of its kind in neurology. It's been brought about by the passion and commitment of the voluntary sector - namely Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action working with Neurological Commissioning Support. 

Local epilepsy services

I'm really looking forward to working with service users and providers across health and social care to understand the provision and perspective of their local epilepsy services. I will be identifying areas of best practice as well as possible gaps in service provision.'

There are around 600,000 people in the UK with epilepsy, around 70 per cent of whom could be seizure free with optimal care. It is estimated that only around 50 per cent of people with epilepsy currently achieve seizure freedom.

Juliet comments: 'Epilepsy specialist nurses are a core element of better services. Evidence shows that the appointment of an epilepsy specialist nurse is a catalyst for service improvement, often leading to a reduction in inappropriate admissions to hospitals.'

Listen to Juliet talking about her new role in this podcast

If you would like to discuss your local epilepsy service, please contact  Neurological Commissioning Support by emailing info@csupport.org.uk or call 020 7581 8419.