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Liz speaks in debate on epilepsy servies

[15/12/2010 | No comment]

Hon. Members have powerfully set out the scale of the problem with epilepsy services and highlighted three key issues. The first is misdiagnosis: around 150,000 people are wrongly diagnosed with epilepsy or are diagnosed with the wrong sort of epilepsy.

The second is poor quality treatment: patients may not see a specialist quickly enough and, because of the problems of misdiagnosis, thousands of patients take powerful drugs that are unnecessary or do not work effectively, and they must make repeated visits to their GP or go into hospital.

Thirdly, because of poor diagnosis and treatment, there are unacceptably poor outcomes for individuals with epilepsy and for society as a whole. Only half of those with epilepsy live seizure-free, when the estimate is that 70% could do so. Of the almost 1,000 deaths from epilepsy every year, approximately 400 are avoidable-that is at least one unnecessary death from epilepsy every day of the year.

The estimated financial cost of that poor-quality care includes more than £20 million a year spent on incorrect drugs, and rises to more than £130 million if unnecessary GP appointments and hospital admissions are taken into account. That does not include the far greater costs to individuals and society as a whole for the thousands of people with epilepsy who cannot play a full role in their families, at work or in the community because they do not receive the care and support they need.

To read Liz’s full speech, click here.

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