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Epilepsy: policy

Relevant policies

Currently there is no national strategy specifically for epilepsy. However a Petition to the Scottish Parliament: Petition PE247 called for the Scottish Parliament to ensure that "there are co-ordinated health and social services that will benefit the 30,000 people in Scotland with epilepsy". A subsequent petition (Petition 1182) called for an increase in the number of epilepsy specialist nurses and for steps to ensure that all NHS boards provide adequate epilepsy services for adults, children and people with a learning disability. There is an active cross party group on epilepsy in the Scottish Parliament.

There are a number of policies and standards that relate to long term conditions in general and are relevant to epilepsy. In August 2007 Audit Scotland published a report on Managing Long-Term Conditions. This made recommendations about improving the care of people with long-term illnesses. The study focused on two conditions in particular, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and epilepsy. The main report, a summary of key messages and a podcast are available from Audit Scotland. The Scottish Government 2007 strategy document Better Health, Better Care includes many references to long term conditions. In 2008 the Health and Social Care Alliance published "Gaun Yersel", a self-management strategy for people with long-term conditions in Scotland.

Guidelines and standards for practice in Scotland

Guidelines for clinical practice in Scotland are currently provided by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). The previously published guideline on care for adults with epilepsy (SIGN 70) has been withdrawn and as yet a replacement has not been published. Guidance for the management of epilepsy in children was published in May 2015 in SIGN 143.

Epilepsy Scotland have published "Epilepsy in Later life: a Good Practice Guide". This practical guide is based on good clinical practice and the limited evidence base available in this area.

NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS, formerly Quality Improvement Scotland) published Clinical Standards for Neurological Services in October 2009. These included a section on epilepsy. An implementation plan was published in January 2010 and is available from the same link. Epilepsy was included in a review  of neurological services published in May 2012 by HIS.

In England a National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions was published in 2005. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a clinical guideline in January 2012 covering the diagnosis and management of epilepsy (CG137).

In September 2012 a UK-wide audit of paediatric epilepsy services - Epilepsy12 (5.3MB) - led by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found wide variations in the quality of care. Services in Scotland compared favourably with those in the rest of the UK.

Page last updated: 30 August 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014