The Department of Health (England) Action Plan for Improving Services for People with Epilepsy: Will It Improve Quality of Care?
Frank M.C. Besag
Issues related to avoidable mortality in people with epilepsy have been highlighted in the National Sentinel Clinical Audit of Epilepsy-Related Death in the UK. This audit concluded that 39% of adult epilepsy-related deaths and 59% of epilepsy-related deaths in children were potentially or probably avoidable. Particular attention was drawn to the important and poorly understood condition of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. This audit prompted a report by the Chief Medical Officer, which was followed by a document prepared by the Department of Health (England) entitled Improving Services for People with Epilepsy: Department of Health Action Plan in Response to the National Clinical Audit of Epilepsy-Related Deaths. The action plan comprises the following sections: (i) Introduction; (ii) Pathology and Post Mortem Investigations; (iii) Improving Care Management and Treatment of Epilepsy; and (iv) Information Provision. The fact that the Department of Health in England has drawn attention to these important matters is in itself worthwhile. However, the action plan does not give a firm commitment to taking the necessary steps required to rectify the shortcomings in the current services.
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