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Shop workers "must be aware of epilepsy"

4 February, 2003

In a debate in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat peer Viscount Falkland has called for retail workers to be more aware of conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes.

The Viscount raised the case of a member of parliamentary staff who, while in a supermarket, had a hypoglycaemic episode from which he subsequently collapsed:

"He woke up in hospital and later discovered that he had been put into an alleyway outside the premises by the staff of the supermarket. Thanks to an observant member of the public, an ambulance was called and after treatment he recovered."

Baroness Gould of Potternewton, Epilepsy Action's President, raised the point that generic first aid courses undertaken by staff in shops do not include how to deal with seizures or diabetic comas.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham, government minister at the Department of Work and Pensions, replied that this autumn the Health and Safety Executive will publish a discussion document on the provision of first aid in the work place. The minister ensured to undertake that the Executive would include questions seeking views as to what provision shops can make for members of the public.