Epilepsy-linked deaths avoidable26th June 2007
A parliamentary report has ruled that about half of the 990 epilepsy-link deaths in England could be avoided.
The All Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy found that just under 70,000 patients did not get the drugs that they needed while a further 74,000 were given medication that was not necessary.
The report from the panel, which was chaired by Baroness Gould of Potternewton, described the figures as a ‚Äúnational scandal‚Ä? and claimed that misdiagnosis of patients was costing ¬£134m annually.
The inquiry was supported by the Joint Epilepsy Council, which is an umbrella body of 21 epilepsy organisations.
It referred to various studies and also heard evidence from a group of patients, volunteers and specialists.
No exact cause has yet been established for epilepsy but it is the most common neurological disorder and affects 382,000 people in England.
The panel also found that as many as 400 people were dying of the condition each year because they had either not received the right diagnosis or had been given the right kind of treatment.
The parliamentary group said the government needed to set clear targets for epilepsy care and ensure that local health bodies were following guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
It also wanted to see greater awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in epilepsy, which leads to about 66% of epilepsy deaths. Other recommendations include referring more people for surgery, more specialist nurses and more funding.
The Department of Health said it would study the report carefully.
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Title: Epilepsy-linked deaths avoidable
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 3253
Date Added: 26th Jun 2007