Eight-month wait in Wales for epileptics

Epilepsy patients in Wales must wait an average of eight months to see a specialist, compared with just six weeks in England.

Margaret Thomas, of the charity National Society of Epilepsy, said the waiting time puts patients at risk of a fatal seizure.  

‘Six weeks is too long. Eight months is absolutely disgraceful,’ she said. ‘Three people die from epileptic seizures every day. It is imperative to bring the condition under control as soon as possible.’  

Ms Thomas pointed out that NICE guidelines stipulated that anyone who has had a seizure should be seen by a specialist within two weeks.  

According to charity Epilepsy Wales there are only 14 full-time equivalent neurologists rather than the 45 required for the 20,000–30,000 people in Wales who have the condition. A public consultation on epilepsy service development in Wales will begin in January.  

In another move to improve management of the condition, the charity Epilepsy Action started a campaign this week urging female patients with epilepsy to talk to their GPs.     

The campaign involves distribution of a booklet, ‘Women and Epilepsy’.  

Copies are available from the Epilepsy Helpline on freephone 0808 800 5050 or via the British Epilepsy Association website. 

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