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Praise for specialist epilepsy nursing role

New specialist nurse role supported by public, private and third sector in Scotland

A groundbreaking initiative, which will see an epilepsy specialist nurse visit patients both at home and in a clinical setting, has been praised at a Scottish parliament reception.

Health minister Jamie Hepburn took special interest in the work of epilepsy specialist nurse Rhona Sturrock. Ms Sturrock is being trained by the Epilepsy Scotland charity as part of a three-year collaboration between the charity, the NHS and pharmaceutical companies UCB Pharma and GSK.

The charity’s epilepsy specialist nurse Grant Wright and Ms Sturrock have a caseload of 1,500 patients who they will see for regular reviews at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and monthly at a clinic 73 miles away in the rural Stranraer peninsula. They will also visit patients unable to come to these clinics at home.

Ms Sturrock described the service as joined-up thinking. She said: 'Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition, but the link between the GPs and practice nurses was not there for a long time.

'Knowing that the link is now there will be reassuring to patients and will make a big difference to GPs and practice nurses – from knowing what types of seizures patients are having to knowing that they are prescribing the right drugs.

Epilepsy Scotland chief executive Lesslie Young said services for people with epilepsy ‘were virtually non-existent six years ago’ and that the partnership of public, private and third sector organisations in the rural region was ‘truly original’.

An Epilepsy Scotland audit found that 44% of epilepsy patients in south west Scotland had no care plan and 39% had not received information about common epilepsy triggers and driving with epilepsy.

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