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10 March 2016

Epilepsy specialist nurse to plug gap in care provision in Scotland

A new funding model of healthcare in Dumfries and Galloway has been launched to improve services for over 1,200 epilepsy patients who were having to travel miles for treatment.

Patients were having to travel long distances for treatment in other health boards, but now, thanks to a successful new funding model of healthcare devised by the charity Epilepsy Scotland, they will be helped by a local epilepsy specialist nurse (ESN).

The project to improve services was launched after an audit found that only 39 per cent of patients had ever been given information about common seizure triggers and driving with epilepsy.  Seven per cent did not know what type of seizures they had and only one per cent was directed towards further support such as a patient group.

The new funding model is a three- year collaboration between the NHS and pharmaceutical companies UCB Pharma and GSK, and will enable people with epilepsy to benefit from better equipped GPs and nurses with epilepsy training and materials.

Speaking in The National, Epilepsy Scotland chief executive Lesslie Young explained: “Services for people with epilepsy were virtually non-existent six years ago. We were invited by NHS Dumfries and Galloway to help but there was no funding available to finance an ESN post.

“Instead, we afforded that help through creating a novel business model where our own ESN was seconded to audit patient care and to train and equip health professionals using this truly original partnership of public, private and third sector organisations.”

It is hoped that the innovative project may be rolled out across other parts of Scotland.