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Call for NHS epilepsy care reforms

Women with epilepsy want better NHS care to improve their quality of life, it has been claimed.

A survey carried out by national charity Epilepsy Action, suggests that women's care falls short of national guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The charity wants epilepsy services for women included in the next NICE review, which is due in 2008, after the survey showed many women with epilepsy are still not receiving vital advice.

More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents who were pregnant or had had a baby in the previous five years, had not been offered care from both an epilepsy specialist nurse and midwife, the research found.

Furthermore, 69% of these women had not been given advice about taking antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) when breastfeeding and 68% had not been offered information about caring for a baby while living with epilepsy.

In women over 45, more than three-quarters (81%) of respondents had not been given any information on how their condition could be affected during the menopause.

Nicole Crosby McKenna, Epilepsy Action's development officer for women, said: "It's clear from the results of the survey that women are ready and willing to take action to improve their quality of life by effectively managing their condition.

"Their only 'ask' is that epilepsy care services raise their standards and meet them half way, so that they at least stand a chance of achieving this goal."

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Epilepsy Action

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