Epilepsy emergency admissions for children higher in deprived areas
A report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has shown that children with epilepsy living in less wealthy areas are more likely to be admitted to hospital for emergency treatment.
The in-depth report published by RCPCH, emphasised that poverty was at the root of many child health problems. The report looked at 25 health indicators, one including epilepsy, to provide a snapshot of children's health and wellbeing.
The results showed that there was a wide geographical variation in emergency epilepsy admission, with admission rates in deprived areas being higher than those in less deprived areas. The RCPCH highlights that many hospital visits for children with epilepsy can be avoided if they are given the support to effectively manage their condition.
On average, the rate of child epilepsy emergency admissions in 2014/15 was 70 in England, 68 in Scotland and 111 in Wales (all per 100,000 population). The rate of emergency epilepsy admission within each nation has remained relatively stable over the past decade.
The RCPCH has called for:
- Further research into the causes of epilepsy and ways to prevent it
- New methods of collecting and sharing data to help deliver more integrated, person-centred care
- Joined-up care which meets the wider needs of children with epilepsy, including mental health
- Full implementation of NICE and SIGN guidelines and recommendations from the Epilepsy12 audit of children’s epilepsy services
- Increased use of the epilepsy passport and other patient-held care plans
- Improved epilepsy education for children, families and health and education professionals to decrease stigma and discrimination
Carol Long, Chief Executive of Young Epilepsy said:
Children with epilepsy should receive good quality care wherever they live. Epilepsy specialist nurses can ensure that children receive support across different areas of their lives, but 1 in 3 still don’t have access to a specialist nurse in their area. We need to change this, all of our children deserve this quality of care.
Professor Neena Modi, President of the RCPCH said:
The health of infants, children and young people in the UK has improved considerably over the last 30 years. Many will lead happy and healthy lives. But seven years after the Marmot Review, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives”, it is tragic that the future health and happiness of a significant and growing number is in jeopardy because of an alarming gap between rich and poor.
Children living in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be in poor health, be overweight or obese, suffer from asthma, have poorly managed diabetes, experience mental health problems, and die early. Poor health in infancy, childhood, and young adult life will ultimately mean poor adult health, and this in turn will mean a blighted life and poor economic productivity. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world; we can and must do better, for the sake for each individual, and that of the nation as a whole.