We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

National Service Framework for Long Term Neurological Conditions in England launched

10 March, 2005

Government plans
for people in England with epilepsy and other long-term neurological
conditions to get faster diagnosis, more rapid treatment and a
comprehensive package of care have been announced by health minister
Stephen Ladyman.

The new National Service Framework (NSF) for Long Term Conditions will, it is claimed by the Department of Health,
transform health and social care services and help people with
conditions such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease,
epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and acquired brain and spinal cord
injuries.

Services in the new NSF for people with long-term neurological conditions will include:

  • Comprehensive assessment and regular review of their problems
  • Joint
    health and social care plans that change over time (especially for
    those with rapidly progressing conditions) and take other needs into
    account such as housing, transport, benefits, education, careers
    advice, employment and leisure
  • Every individual will have a single point of access to services via a named contact
  • Self referral, allowing individuals to refer themselves quickly back to services as their care needs change
  • Access
    to a broad range of services including rehabilitation, equipment,
    accommodation and personal care to help them live as independently as
    possible at home
  • Support to help people to work or take up other vocational opportunities

The
Department of Health claim that there will be partnerships between
statutory services and voluntary and independent sector organisations,
closer links between family doctors, local hospitals and specialist
neuroscience and spinal cord injury centres and more education about
neurological conditions for staff in all health and care settings

John Reid, secretary of state for health, said:

"This
NSF will make a real difference to the many millions of people living
with painful and often debilitating long term neurological conditions
by giving them choice in how their care is delivered with services that
are planned around their needs.

"We
recently launched the long term conditions model which will provide the
structured care that will keep people out of hospital and in some
cases, prevent premature death. This NSF goes even further by spreading
best practice that responds directly to the needs of this group of
people."

Epilepsy
Action has welcomed the NSF but has called for an urgent rethink on
funding to address the serious gaps in service provision and improve
the health of people with epilepsy.

Simon Wigglesworth, the charity's deputy chief executive, said:

"The
NSF sets out a plan for improved services for people with long-term
neurological conditions. However, the quality requirements will not be
achievable unless there is a huge investment in more specialist nurses
and doctors, and clear ways of monitoring progress across all quality
standards."