Valerie meets with Prime Minister to discuss support for people with epilepsy and related conditions

L-R: Simon Wigglesworth (Epilepsy Action), Valerie Vaz MP, Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Professor Helen Cross, Sharon Wood (Joint Epilepsy Council), Karen Deacon (National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy), Laura Sandys MP


On Wednesday 12th October Valerie met with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss her Ten Minute Rule Bill on epilepsy and related conditions (education and health services).  Also attending the meeting were specialist neurologist Professor Helen Cross, Laura Sandys MP (Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy), Karen Deacon (National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy), Sharon Wood (Joint Epilepsy Council) and Simon Wigglesworth (Epilepsy Action).


Valerie said:

“I am delighted that the Prime Minister agreed to this meeting.  I welcome the Prime Ministers’s indication that he will ask the Department of Health and the Department for Education to look again at the Bill’s proposals. The Prime Minister also offered his support in raising awareness of the issues around epilepsy at future national campaigns, and tackling the stigma still associated with the condition. The group was delighted by his offer support.


“This Bill asks for immediate referral to a specialist clinician for anyone experiencing a suspected seizure.  It also asks for an annual assessment in schools to identify the additional needs of children with epilepsy and to help them achieve their potential. 


“One thousand people a year die from epilepsy: 40% of these deaths and 59% childhood deaths are considered potentially avoidable.  There is a misdiagnosis rate of 20-31%, and the medical costs of this are around £38m per year.  Immediate referrals to a specialist would help to save money and more importantly, save lives.”


“There are around 63,400 young people under 18 with epilepsy in the UK.  Half of them are estimated to be under-achieving academically in relation to their intellectual level.  An annual assessment in schools would help raise awareness among parents, teachers, students and healthcare professionals about how best to support young people in achieving their potential and improving their quality of life.


“I look forward to making progress on these important issues and will continue to call for improved support for people with epilepsy and related conditions.”


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