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Epilepsy: data


Epilepsy was certified as the underlying cause in 113 deaths in Scotland in 2014 (table 1). Chart 1 shows the number of epilepsy deaths in Scotland between 1974 and 2014. Although the relatively small numbers of deaths mean that there is considerable year to year fluctuation, there has been an appreciable increase in deaths over the whole period, particularly among men. However the number of deaths has been relatively stable over the last ten years.

Table 1: Deaths from epilepsy or status epilepticus (2), Scotland 2014

  Epilepsy (1) Status Epilepticus (2)
Male 56 4
Female 50 3
Both sexes combined 106 7

(1) Based on ICD10 code G40; excludes status epilepticus; (2) A form of epilepsy characterised by continuous and uncontrolled seizures; statistics based on ICD10 G41; Source: National Records of Scotland (formerly General Register Office for Scotland) Vital Events Reference Tables (Table 6.4)

Hospital discharge data

Data on inpatient and daycase discharges are available from the SMR01 database. Chart 2 shows the incidence of epilepsy between 2004/05 and 2014/15. Incidence is defined here as the first hospital admission with epilepsy or death from epilepsy without a previous admission within the preceding 10 years. This is an imperfect measure as not everyone with epilepsy is admitted to hospital. The chart shows that first admissions and deaths are more common among males than females but have declined in both sexes in the last 10 years.

Chart 3 shows first admissions and deaths without previous admission by age and sex for the same time period as chart 2. Rates tend to be higher in males and in older age groups. There has been an increase in cases for males aged under 15 in recent years, which has not been mirrored in females of the same age group. 

Practice Team Information

Until 2012/13, the Practice Team Information (PTI) programme provided information on GP consultations for epilepsy in Scotland. This information can be used to estimate the national prevalence of epilepsy using information collected from a representative sample of GP practices. However, the PTI system was discontinued in September 2013 and will be replaced by the Scottish Primary Care Information Resource (SPIRE). Historical information on epilepsy consultations and prevalence estimates up to 2012/13 are available from the PTI pages of the ISD website. 

Scottish Primary Care Information Resource

The Scottish Primary Care Information Resource (SPIRE) is a new national GP information system currently in development – it supersedes and builds on the data collected for PTI. SPIRE aims to include richer data from a greater number of practices and will help to inform public health surveillance, research and data linkage. Further benefits will see the creation of a mechanism to feedback data analysis to practices and an improved data extraction process

Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) data

As part of the 2004 new General Medical Services (nGMS) contract UK general practices are provided with incentives to record the number of people who are aged 18 and over, registered with their practice and known to have epilepsy. These data provide only total numbers and do not include any breakdown by age or sex. In 2013/14 0.75% of the Scottish population were included on general practice epilepsy registers (based on practices with nGMS contracts and reportable data). Further details are available on ISD's Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) website in the sections on prevalence data for 2013/14. From 2014/15, epilepsy indicators no longer appear on QOF.

Please note: If you require the most up-to-date data available, please check the data sources directly as new data may have been published since these data pages were last updated. Although we endeavour to ensure that the data pages are kept up-to-date, there may be a time lag between new data being published and the relevant ScotPHO web pages being updated.


Page last updated: 15 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014