Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by unpredictable, sometimes lifelong seizures. The condition affects about one in every 100 people and is second only to stroke as the commonest chronic neurological disorder in Europe.
There are approximate 40,000 sufferers in Ireland, approximately 70% of whom are well controlled on medication, leaving about 12-15,000 people who have breakthrough seizures, and are in regular contact with secondary and tertiary hospital services.
The HSE National Clinical Programme in Epilepsy Care has 3 main goals: the delivery of improved quality of care and, improved access to specialist care for patients with epilepsy while at the same time delivering on value which will ensure the sustainability of the programme into the future. The programme aims to promote the management of epilepsy at the primary care level by improving the communication between primary and specialist services, and the development of access to guiding information.
Specifically, the National Clinical Programme for Epilepsy will deliver these goals by addressing each aspect of care with a specified care pathway and delivered by a multidisciplinary team of experts in epilepsy care, leading to benefits for patients, carers and families. These include: establishment of network of Epilepsy Centres; population-based nurse-led service; structured primary care programme led by GPs in association with the primary care team and the Advanced Nurse Practitioner in epilepsy; seizure care pathway for acute hospital based seizure management in Emergency Depts and hospital wards; expanded, appropriately resourced, pre-surgical evaluation programme in Beaumont and Cork University Hospital; delivery of care in the most appropriate setting through access to clinical information when and where needed via an electronic patient record (EPR) (e.g. for community outreach, primary care and hospital-based); countrywide telephone direction for health professionals.
Further operational details on the HSE Clinical Programme in Epilepsy can be obtained directly from the HSE.