The Sapphire Nurse Scheme originates from Epilepsy Action's 45th anniversary year (sapphire anniversary) in 1995. Sapphire Nurses reflect Epilepsy Action’s commitment to people with epilepsy and partnerships with funders and service providers. The Sapphire Nurse Scheme aims to appoint epilepsy specialist nurses within NHS trusts throughout the UK. Please note that the scheme is now closed for new applications for 2013.
The aims of the Sapphire Nurse
The aims of the Sapphire Nurses are: to promote good practice and to act as a specialist resource in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with epilepsy; to encourage the setting up of specialist epilepsy clinics in hospitals and GP practices; to participate in research into epilepsy.
The introduction of Sapphire Nurses has heightened awareness of epilepsy and encouraged partnerships with other specialist nurses, GPs, NHS Trusts, educationalists, employers and people with epilepsy. Sapphire Nurses are also managing clinics, offering patients counselling, advice and discussion on the effect of their condition. Sapphire Nurses also work between GP practices and hospitals developing the knowledge of GPs and practice nurses. Consultants are able to offer a wider service for their clients with epilepsy thanks to the support of Epilepsy Action Sapphire Nurses.
Continuing work involving the Sapphire Nurses includes developing resources for people for whom English is not their first language, talks within the community and at conferences and ensuring the needs of people with epilepsy are addressed at both local and national levels.
Initial funding is raised from a number of sources including UCB Pharma Ltd, Pfizer Ltd, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, Children In Need, other charitable funds and Epilepsy Action’s branches. Funding can be provided up to a maximum one year, full time, or two years, part time and after that the NHS trust/PCT takes over all ongoing costs. Epilepsy Action seeks written commitment to ongoing funding for the post from the trust/PCT before a final offer of funding is given.
Sapphire nurse for epilepsy commissioning
For information on Juliet Ashton, the new Sapphire nurse for epilepsy commissioning, see the article in our online magazine, or go straight to her information on the Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS) website.
At present there are 88 adult and paediatric (children’s) Sapphire Nurses working throughout the UK. The Roald Dahl Foundation funds the majority of our paediatric nurse posts. These nurses are known as Roald Dahl Sapphire Nurses. You can contact the Epilepsy Helpline for full details of your local Sapphire Nurse service on 0808 800 5050.
Is there no Sapphire Nurse in your local area?
Why not campaign for better epilepsy services? The campaigning section of our website has more information.