Scottish charities launch publication to address epilepsy inequities

A collection of Scottish charities have launched a new publication designed to improve access to social support for people with epilepsy and overcome the postcode lottery in support that exists.

 Scottish charities launch publication to address epilepsy inequities

The publication, entitled Enabling social support for people with epilepsy | Iriss, follows two years of work to better understand the social support needs of people with epilepsy, listening to people’s experience, and understanding the pivotal role that the provision of social support can have.

The resource was jointly developed by the social research body Iriss, in partnership with Epilepsy Connections, Epilepsy Scotland and Quarriers. It is a tool to aid public bodies like the NHS and local authorities to create sustainable social support for epilepsy that meets local need. It aims to:

  • Improve understanding about epilepsy in Scotland and awareness of the impact it has on people’s lives
  • Highlight the difference social support makes to health and wellbeing outcomes
  • Demonstrate how investing in social support can effectively complement and supplement clinical care provided by the NHS, and reduce costs through early intervention

Ron Culley, the Chief Executive of Quarriers, said: “This publication is exactly what we need to ensure that we deliver more consistent support to people with epilepsy across Scotland.

“Our intelligence suggests that support is currently available in only four of the 14 health board areas, therefore, we have an urgent need to improve access. We know that people with epilepsy are more likely to experience mental health problems, social isolation, unemployment, and increased mortality when compared against the wider population.

“This is a clarion call for local partners to come together to ensure that we have blanket coverage across Scotland.”

Andrew Lindsay, Head of Policy and External Relations at Epilepsy Scotland, added: “This report comes at a vital time when services for social support are being cut due to lack of funding.

“It clearly makes the case that sustainable funding for delivery of social support must be made available to the third sector organisations that deliver these services. It is investment which makes sense.

“Not only does funding social support help with prevention resulting in savings for the NHS, but it importantly leads to better overall health outcomes for people living with epilepsy.”

Rachel Edwards of Epilepsy Connections added: “The World Health Organisation has declared that epilepsy is a global public health priority. It is the most common chronic neurological condition, affecting more than 50 million people worldwide. It is crucial that Scotland plays its part in this global mission, and to do that we need to take the lead in delivering dignified and compassionate social support for those living with epilepsy.”

Did you know?

  • 1% of the population of Scotland has epilepsy, making it the most common neurological condition.
  • Around 1/3 of people living with epilepsy will never have a sustained period of seizure freedom.