The group Parent Action for Children with Epilepsy (PACE) has welcomed the decision by the Western Health and Social Care Trust to introduce EEG testing at Altnagelvin Hospital for epilepsy in children and babies.
It is understood testing will start on June 9 this year. The move follows what PACE called ‘a hard-fought campaign’ since 2011 in which parents have sought a range of improvements in service provision for children and babies suffering from Epilepsy.
The group said testing, coupled with improved hours for paediatric epilepsy nursing hours, which they had also campaigned for, would further enhance paediatric epilepsy provision in Altnagelvin. However, they said more needed to be done.
“At a recent meeting with the Trust we were assured that finally, difficulties with accommodation, data transfer to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Belfast, and agreement on reading EEG data have now finally been resolved,” said Keith Cradden, convenor for PACE. He said the provision of EEG facilities should eradicate the need to travel to Craigavon or Belfast for testing.
He said he group would PACE would continue to push for funding to ensure National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines for the management of epilepsy was more fully implemented.
“The Department has recently conducted a Review of Paediatric Health Care Services provided in Hospitals and in the Community and intends shortly publishing a final strategy for paediatric healthcare services covering the period 2014 to 2024,” he said, adding: “This is crucially important and PACE will be anxious to see and respond to the recommendations in this strategy document. We will also hope to open discussions aimed at possible increased cooperation with the North Western Health Board in the provision of epilepsy services.”
Highlighting the stigmatisation and lack of understanding of epilepsy, he said it was unacceptable that children should suffer due to a lack of funding, and said EEG testing was an important step but there was a long way to go.