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The Association of British Neurologists, the GP Society of ILAE and SUDEP Action back call for GP monitoring

SUDEP Action welcomes letters to UK’s leading medical journal which back Professor Ridsdale’s call for a greater role for GPs in epilepsy.  Letters from the Association of British Neurologists and the GP Society of the ILAE were included in a highly positive response to the BMJ editorial “Avoiding premature death in epilepsy”.   Organisational responses so far include SUDEP Action, the Association of British Neurologists and the GP Society of the UK Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE.) 

Professor Phil Smith, President Elect of the Association of British Neurologists, in a letter to the British Medical Journal wrote: “The Association of British Neurologists endorses Professor Ridsdale’s call  for general practitioners to be remunerated for epilepsy monitoring—just as they are for other important long-term conditions such as diabetes and would welcome more general practice input to epilepsy care”.

Professor Smith argues that epilepsy is a serious condition and that it was not practical for hospitals to be primarily responsible for monitoring people in the community.  He went on to say people need help with self-management and that the removal of financial incentives for GPs to help was a backward step.

The letter cites the BMJ editorial, authored by Professor Ridsdale at King’s College London, who with SUDEP Action funding, led the team which interrogated general practice records on mortality trends in epilepsy.  SUDEP Action’s Safety Check List project was also referenced in Professor Smith’s letter as evidence that people can be helped to reduce their risk of fatality. Kt’s fund, set up following the sudden death of a local nurse, raised the funds to enable a partnership between SUDEP Action and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The Safety Check List, commissioned from researchers in Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust is a pilot project supporting General Practitioners to help people with epilepsy manage the risks of their condition.

Richard Hills, Chair of the UK GP Society Chapter of the ILAE also supported the call. Dr Hills writes of his experience in General Practice of “excessive tolerance to poor seizure control”. He says: “Avoiding premature death in epilepsy” is a renewed and perhaps revised challenge to primary care. There have been recurrent challenges over the past 20 years including SUDEP Action’s National Sentinel Clinical Audit of Epilepsy-Related Death: Epilepsy–death in the Shadows as a notable example

The challenges in Professor Ridsdale’s editorial….rely on routine general practice skills and should be examined closely, resources allowing”.

Jane Hanna, CEO SUDEP Action responding for bereaved families said: “This editorial brings to attention a huge opportunity to develop an intervention to improve management of epilepsy in the community and make life safer for people with epilepsy. Saving lives will also mean we begin to reduce the traumatic impact of these deaths on families and on society. SUDEP Action will continue to push the case and hopes everyone can get behind this call. We welcome the backing of this call from leading professional groups in the UK, which sends a powerful message”.

Follow this link for all organisational and individual rapid response letters to the BMJ editorial

Related Links

For Full BMJ editorial