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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Audit: "Major flaws" found in local epilepsy services

10 Mar 2004

An audit of services
provided to people with epilepsy by local doctors in the UK has found
major flaws in the care provided.

study, undertaken in 2002 by the National
Society for Epilepsy
(NSE), looked at epilepsy
services in 12 local doctors' practices, aiming to identify
possible shortfalls in service provision. Six hundred patients
were identified as having epilepsy and their
medcial records were studied to look
services and
care provided.

Seizure descriptions
were documented in their records for only 46 per cent of audited cases
and seizure frequency for 50 per cent. Documented evidence indicated
that 32 per cent had never had an EEG, only 47 per cent had had an EEG
within two years of diagnosis, 32 per cent had had an MRI scan, 37 per
cent had had a CT scan and nine per cent had had both MRI and CT scans.

The report suggested
that a regular review, ideally on an annual
basis, should be part of the on-going management plan, however
the figures indicated that 55 per cent of patients had not had a review
by their doctor in the two years prior to the audit. Eighty-six per cent
had been seen by their doctor for other reasons during the same period
but there
no documentation of a discussion about their epilepsy.

Nearly half of the
people in the study were women of child-bearing age, a group that the
report stated deserves particular attention because
of the possible effects of epilepsy and anti-epileptic drugs on contraception
and pregnancy. However, pre-conceptual advice was recorded in only
24 per cent
of cases and
advice about contraception in 30 per cent.

The report's author,
Annette Russell, Nursing Development Manager at the NSE, commented
that patients
epilepsy do not receive the same management as those with diabetes
or asthma. The full findings of
the audit is being fed back to the practices that were involved with
a view to improving the quality of service to patients with epilepsy.