updated 27 March 2007
Epilepsy Action is campaigning to save the jobs of epilepsy specialist nurses who have been threatened with redundancy, having to spend part of their time on non-specialist duties or leaving their posts and not being replaced.
An epilepsy specialist nurse is a nurse who has a wealth of experience in caring for people with epilepsy. These nurses are a crucial source of support and advice to people with epilepsy. Their work can involve reviewing seizures, adjusting or changing medication and providing information, as well as giving support and time to help reduce the impact of the condition on a person and their family.
Since the Sapphire Nurse Scheme began in 1995 Epilepsy Action has invested in 83 Sapphire Nurse posts at a cost of £2½ million.
A number of NHS trusts are having financial problems and Epilepsy Action is extremely concerned that this has meant a threat to epilepsy specialist nurse posts across the UK.
We fear that if epilepsy specialist nurses are made redundant there will be a lack of in-depth, specialist knowledge of the complexities of epilepsy available for people across large areas of the country.
We are aware that many epilepsy specialist nurse posts are under threat at the moment. However, this is a very sensitive issue. For this reason, we are only campaigning in the Nottingham area at present. The post of the epilepsy specialist nurse in the Ipswich area is now safe in the short term, and it has been confirmed that the post in Leeds is not under threat.
We are also pleased to announce that it has been confirmed that the epilepsy specialist nurses who are leaving their posts in Portsmouth and Torquay are going to be replaced.