Epilepsy Action’s President, Baroness Ford of Cunninghame, put forward a Question for Short Debate in the main chamber of the UK House of Lords yesterday. The subject of the debate was:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in improving neurological services, and in particular the provision of epilepsy services, in the United Kingdom.
Baroness Ford opened by talking about the importance of the debate at a time of great change for the NHS. She highlighted the opportunity to improve neurological services as a result of the changes and the risk that services could also deteriorate. She also declared her position as president of Epilepsy Action and her personal family experience of epilepsy.
The Baroness then discussed the National Audit Office’s report into services for people with neurological conditions and the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report in response. She asked questions about recommendations from the PAC and for an update on the progress made on these recommendations.
The debate then moved on to focus specifically on epilepsy services and how the NHS will assess the need for epilepsy services and provide them. Baroness Ford asked that the government makes it clear that new clinical commissioning groups should focus on neurological conditions, such as epilepsy.
Other peers including Baroness Jolly, Lord Patel, and Baroness Wheeler also made contributions to the debate. They covered issues such as rates of misdiagnosis for epilepsy, specialist nurses, services for children and young people and epilepsy related deaths.
Baroness Wheeler also made reference to NHS changes and asked for clarity about how services will be commissioned. She also thanked Epilepsy Action for their excellent briefing for the debate.
Baroness Northover responded on behalf of the government.