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This article was published in December 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

A first in neurology: national nurse consultant

9 Dec 2013

A new role has been introduced by several organisations from the voluntary sector. Juliet Ashton is the first national nurse consultant for neurology – promoting best practice and identifying gaps in provision

Roles within the NHS have been changing dramatically in recent times with the British health service itself having been remodelled. In these times of change, Epilepsy Action is pleased to introduce an entirely new role to the world of neurology: a national nurse consultant.

Juliet Ashton is now officially in post as Sapphire Nurse Consultant for Epilepsy Commissioning. Juliet will be charged with providing expert advice and support to the Clinical Commissioning Groups in charge of providing epilepsy health services.

The aim of the new role is to improve local epilepsy services across the UK and, in turn, improve treatment and care for people with epilepsy. This role is the first of its kind in the field of neurology and came out of joint working between several not-for-profit organisations.

The idea was born out of work between Epilepsy Action and the Neurological Commissioning Support. Funding for the post has been provided by both Epilepsy Action and Epilepsy Society.

Juliet represents an excellent candidate for the post with combined experience in neurology nursing of over 25 years. Juliet’s experience spans several fields, including specialist nursing roles in the fields of multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury and Parkinson’s.

Juliet AshtonJuliet said: "More recently I've been involved in the setting up of the 'epilepsy alliance' between the Epilepsy Specialist Nurse Association and Epilepsy Action. This role is taking that work one step further.

"I feel privileged to have been appointed to the first nurse commissioning role of its kind in neurology. It's been brought about by the passion and commitment of the voluntary sector - namely Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action working with Neurological Commissioning Support.

“I'm really looking forward to working with service users and providers across health and social care to understand the provision and perspective of their local epilepsy services. I will be identifying areas of best practice as well as possible gaps in service provision.

"Epilepsy specialist nurses are a core element of better services. Evidence shows that the appointment of an epilepsy specialist nurse is a catalyst for service improvement, often leading to a reduction in inappropriate admissions to hospitals."

Epilepsy Action is pleased to welcome Juliet into post. Moreover, the organisation welcomes the introduction of roles like this one – and effective working across the voluntary sector. Hopefully, new ways of working together will have a positive impact on health services for people with epilepsy.

If you are a nurse, clinician or commissioner and would like to contact Juliet about your epilepsy service, please visit www.ncssupport.org.uk/epilepsy-commissioning-nurse/

Watch a video of Juliet below.


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