Commissioners should consider services for the diagnosis and management of epilepsy, NICE guidance suggests.
Released today the guide recommends commissioners work with a range of healthcare professionals to plan epilepsy services.
Areas of ‘real concern’
“This guide for commissioners recognises the importance of placing people with epilepsy, their family and carers firmly at the centre of care,” said Professor J Helen Cross, honorary consultant in Paediatric Neurology at the UCL-Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
She said: “The guide focuses on areas of real concern to people with epilepsy such as accurate and timely diagnosis, appropriate communication, the need for regular and structured reviews and transition from children’s services to adult services.”
In the quality standards – best practice information for clinical care – also launched today, NICE said adults with epilepsy should be seen by a specialist nurse who they can contact between reviews.
Adults having an initial investigation should undergo tests within four weeks of them being requested, the standards said.
“The nature of epilepsy means that it can be difficult to diagnose accurately,” said Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE.
She said: “A key part of these new quality standards is focused on ensuring that diagnosis and treatment are confirmed and reviewed as necessary.”
A care plan is needed for adults with epilepsy, while those with a history of seizures need an agreed emergency plan, NICE has said.
Young people with epilepsy should have an agreed transition period during which their continuing epilepsy care is reviewed jointly by paediatric and adult services.
Amanda Cleaver, communications and campaigns manager at Epilepsy Society, said: “We welcome these quality standards which recognise the importance of getting a correct diagnosis, optimum treatment and the role of the epilepsy specialist nurse in patient care.”
The commissioners guide focuses on “improving the diagnosis of epilepsy and ensuring that diagnosis and treatment are both confirmed and reviewed as necessary”.
According to NICE, the guide will help commissioners towards achieving the outcomes set out in the NHS, Public Health and Adult Social Care Outcomes Frameworks, as well as achieving improvement areas in the clinical commissioning group outcomes indicator set.
The guide outlines:
Service model examples from a range of epilepsy services
The benefits of appropriate and urgent referral for people with suspected epilepsy
The benefits of prompt access to diagnostic investigations, including the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The importance of review and re-access to appropriate care for people with epilepsy
The guide also includes two commissioning and budgeting tools to help users determine the level of service that might be needed locally and to help calculate the cost of commissioning care for adults and children and young people with epilepsy
Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder in the UK, and currently affects around 600,000 people.
Full details of the quality care plans are available on the NICE website.