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Scotland needs three times as many specialist epilepsy nurses

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Scotland has too few specialist nurses to meet the needs of the country’s 40,000 people affected by epilepsy, a charity has warned.

Epilepsy Scotland said a total of 61.5 specialist nurses were needed to meet the target of one specialist nurse per 100,000 of the population, recommended by the Joint Epilepsy Council for the UK and Ireland.

But charity chief executive Susan Douglas-Scott said: ‘Scotland has just 24 nurses who specialise in caring for people with epilepsy.’

This leaves existing epilepsy and learning disability nurses facing huge case-loads, the charity warned, with several health boards not employing a single specialist epilepsy nurse.

‘These nurses do a tremendous job by supporting families at vulnerable times in their lives,’ said Ms Douglas-Scott. ‘People have patiently waited but still no health board yet meets recommended targets for specialist nurses.’

Epilepsy Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government and health boards to provide more specialist posts.

A report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy, published last June, said the number of ESNs in England should be increased from the current 152 to 600 and, in the longer term, to 920 across all epilepsy disciplines including learning difficulties.

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