SUDEP Action

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Half of healthcare workers report difficulties in providing care for people with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Findings from SUDEP Action’s COVID-19 and epilepsy survey

As part of our ongoing research into COVID-19 and epilepsy, the project team at SUDEP Action and the University of Oxford have received 464 survey responses from healthcare workers worldwide, including epileptologists, neurologists, epilepsy-specialist nurses and GPs.

Because of the valuable information shared by healthcare workers, the project team were fortunate to showcase this information in Epilepsy & Behavior Reports, where data was published from 79 healthcare workers, based in the UK.

Key findings:

Wellbeing of healthcare workers

  • 43% reported that the pandemic had impacted their mental health.
  • Close to half of healthcare workers expressed concerns about becoming infected with COVID-19

Remote consultations

  • 39% of healthcare workers had no face-to-face consultations.
  • 19% were significantly less confident diagnosing epilepsy when working remotely.
  • Half specified that the pandemic had negatively impacted their ability to deliver care.


  • Most healthcare workers did not change their approach to prescribing.
  • Three reported an increase in prescribing rescue medication to reduce hospitalisation of people with epilepsy 

This research shows the need for supporting healthcare workers mental and physical health. A dependence on consultations must also be reconsidered to make sure that people with epilepsy can receive reliable, comprehensive, high-quality care.
Given what we have also learnt from people with epilepsy who also took part in this research (who shared fears over escalating risks, difficulties accessing services and medication, and concerns over having solely virtual rather than in person consultations), and from the findings of the 2020 Live Cut Short report - it remains vital that healthcare workers are supported to provide services for people with epilepsy both now and in the future, so that risks can be reduced, outcomes improved and deaths prevented.