11 March 2009
The Welsh Assembly Government has recently launched a Service Development Directive for Epilepsy. This document, 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. It sets out the government’s expectations of local health boards. This includes requiring all health boards to review their epilepsy services and put in place plans to meet the guidelines set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
To mark the launch Epilepsy Action has committed £150,000 to fund three new epilepsy specialist nurse posts in Wales. This money, from existing Sapphire Nurse restricted funds, is intended to support the delivery of this groundbreaking initiative in Wales. Successful health boards will have to commit to employing the nurses for a minimum of three further years.
Health providers have until December 2009 to apply for this funding, a timetable that is designed to recognise it will take time for health boards to review and plan service improvements. These changes also come at a time when the Welsh health service is being redesigned, reducing the number of health boards from 21 to seven.
Launching the directive, health minister Edwina Hart said: “The Service Development Directive for Epilepsy acknowledges the need for action to improve services for people with epilepsy in Wales.”
The launch was attended by Simon Wigglesworth, Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive, who announced the new funding during the launch meeting, Ann Sivapatham, regional services manager for Wales and Aimee Bowen, PR and Campaigns Manager.