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SUDEP training package for emergency staff adopted by Health Education England

NHS Health Education England logo

In October 2016, the Simple Steps training package created in memory of Charlie Burns was launched by South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and SUDEP Action to raise awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) among emergency care clinicians. Now, 1 year on, in time for SUDEP Action Day 2017, the package has been adopted into an NHS e-learning platform.

Charlie, from Wiltshire, had his first seizure on 7 October, 2011, and was attended by a paramedic crew who thought it might be a febrile convulsion.  Charlie’s mum Jan then took Charlie to see their GP who suggested he might be suffering from nocturnal epilepsy and referred him to see a neurologist.  Tragically, before the neurologist appointment took place, Charlie had a second seizure and died four days later.                                                                      

The training package was the outcome of this tragedy, in the hope that future deaths could be prevented. Since its launch it has been adopted by 9 ambulance trusts across the UK, with a potential reach of over 28,0000 emergency service employees!

The Burns Family have promoted the training since its launch, and is one of the outcomes of their meeting with NHS Patient Safety earlier this year.

Now, the training package has been adopted by Health Education England’s e-learning platform; E-Learning for Healthcare (E-LfH) to create the beginnings of a new module on SUDEP. This module sits within their existing Epilepsy module.

The platform is available to all NHS clinicians, Health and Social Care staff and in future may become available to medical students; it is one of 150+ training programmes available on the platform. These training packages have the potential to be mandated by health organisations/medical schools – meaning in future this course could become an essential part of clinician’s professional development and training.

SUDEP Action’s SUDEP and Seizure Safety Course, created with RCGP will also be joining the Simple Steps package in the new SUDEP module in the coming weeks.

SUDEP Action Day is an annual event, launched on 23 October 2014 (as SUDEP Awareness Day), it shines a light on the largest cause of death in people with epilepsy, helping empower people through increased awareness. Follow this year’s action via the hashtag #SUDEPActionDay2017 on social media.