Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Government to increase the number of specialist epilepsy nurses employed in the national health service.
“Scotland needs more specialist epilepsy nurses,” said Cathy.
“The Joint Epilepsy Council has recommended one nurse per 100,000 of the population. Yet as the Minister acknowledged when I raised the issue in parliament, there are only 24 epilepsy specialist nurses in Scotland – 11 for adults, seven for children and six for people with learning disabilities.
Specialist nurses are senior nurses who provide a wide range of services. Epilepsy Scotland, which campaigns for the 40,000 people affected by the condition, has highlighted that at the moment no health boards were meeting recommended targets for specialist nurses, and some patients had to travel to another health board to access the service.
Cathy said that “managing epilepsy can be difficult and epilepsy nurses provide excellent support. The Minister is pinning her hopes on new draft clinical standards on epilepsy. While these highlight the important role that epilepsy specialist nurses play in the provision of services, they recommend a managed clinical network approach. That’s fine so far as it goes, but is not a substitute for having adequate numbers of specialist nurses. We need two or three times as many as we have now.”