Epilepsy Bill set for second reading in Parliament
EPILEPSY AND RELATED CONDITIONS (EDUCATION AND HEALTH SERVICES) BILL SET FOR SECOND READING IN PARLIAMENT
On Friday 4 March the Second Reading of Valerie Vaz MP’s Epilepsy and Related Conditions (Education and Health Services) Bill is due to be heard in the House of Commons.
Valerie Vaz MP introduced the Bill on 24 November 2010 under the Ten Minute Rule. The Bill requires the Government to develop an action plan for epilepsy and related conditions, including a strategy to improve access to tertiary healthcare, and an annual assessment in schools to address the needs of children with epilepsy and related conditions.
Valerie Vaz MP says:
As a society, we are failing children and adults with these conditions. I hope to persuade the Government to support my Bill, which proposes an action plan in health and education that is big on impact and low on costs, but could lead to savings in the short and long term and, more importantly, could save lives.
Nearly 500,000 people in the UK have epilepsy - that is one in every 131 people. Many of them will struggle throughout their lives with stigma, unemployment and fear. There are centres of excellence throughout the country, and Britain leads the world in epilepsy research, but unfortunately we are lagging well behind in practice. The tragic part is that, on average, three people a day die of epilepsy-related causes and one of those three deaths every day is potentially avoidable. Four hundred people are therefore dying needlessly each and every year. The death rate in Britain is about 25% higher than the median for the EU, and these deaths are particularly tragic because the greatest risk is in the 16 to 35 age bracket.
I am asking the Government to support an action plan for tertiary referral in health and an annual assessment in education to save the needless loss of life and to enable our children and adults to fulfil their hopes and dreams.
I have written to Sarah Teather in the Department of Education and Paul Burstow in the Department of Health, asking them to support the Bill’s proposals.
Sharon Wood, Chief Executive of the Joint Epilepsy Council, said:
The Joint Epilepsy Council very much welcomes the introduction of the Epilepsy Bill. Epilepsy care for the 500,000 people across the UK with the condition is patchy, wasting £220 million a year and failing to prevent 400 avoidable epilepsy deaths annually. This Bill could change all that in England if the Government would give it Parliamentary time – better epilepsy care would also bring thousands more into jobs and boost the education of young people.
We would also want to see similar legislation for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.