Epilepsy Plan For Wales Forges Ahead

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Health Minister Edwina Hart will unveil the Epilepsy Plan for Wales, following consultation with a multi professional and multi agency expert group.

The plan, which is the first of its kind in the UK, aims to ensure that action is taken to develop services more effectively across Wales for people living with the condition.

As the most common neurological condition, around 1 in 20 people in the UK develop epilepsy at some point in their life and 1500 new cases are recorded in Wales every year.

Edwina Hart said: "Epilepsy is a complex condition that can affect anyone at any age, and has a dramatic effect on people's lives. It is crucial that people with epilepsy can effectively access the right services at the right time and in the right place. This is what this unique service development directive proposes."

The revised plan is fresh from a 12-week consultation which has seen health professionals, Local Health Boards, NHS Trusts and the voluntary sector contribute to the directive.

Consultation responses to the directive underlined the need for strengthening integration and a multi-agency approach to manage epilepsy across primary, community and secondary care services. A stronger emphasis on education, training and development was also highlighted in order to meet the challenges of treating epilepsy in the community.

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The revised directive takes account of all key issues raised by the consultation and aims to ensure:

* Simplified access to high quality, consistent and patient-centred services;

* Early assessment to reduce risk of incorrect diagnosis; and,

* Provision of appropriate treatment that is timely and provided as locally as possible.

The Health Minister added: "The Service Development Directive for Epilepsy acknowledges the need for action to improve services for people with epilepsy in Wales and is a key part in meeting our One Wales commitment to improve health services across the country."

Margaret Stanley of the All Wales Epilepsy Forum said: "The new Epilepsy plan for Wales is a groundbreaking initiative which has the potential to vastly improve the lives of people with Epilepsy in Wales, their families and carers.

"The voluntary sector will continue to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that the plan is implemented successfully. As with many other aspects of government policy, Wales is once again blazing the trail and people with Epilepsy in Wales will certainly benefit from it. This plan is the first of its kind in the UK and the All Wales Epilepsy Forum is pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government is leading the way in improving the care and treatment for people living with and affected by epilepsy."

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