Joan McAlpine MSP has praised a unique epilepsy service which has helped 1,200 in Dumfries and Galloway get help from a specialist nurse near their home.
The SNP MSP attended a showcase of the service in the Scottish Parliament where the D & G project was praised by Scottish Health Minister Jamie Hepburn and Epilepsy Scotland Chief Executive Lesslie Young.
The unique three year collaboration with the NHS, Epilepsy Scotland and pharmaceutical companies UCB Pharma and GSK means epilepsy patients benefit from Epilepsy Specialist Nurses, better equipped GPs, as well as practice and learning disability nurses who have received epilepsy training and materials.
Speaking after the event Ms McAlpine said:
“We heard from patients, doctors and nurses about how this project has transformed care in Dumfries and Galloway where previously patents had to wait a long time or travel long distances for treatment. Over a thousand people now have a better quality of care and direct access to local epilepsy services.
"Services for people with epilepsy were virtually non-existent six years ago. This is a great example of a partnership that works and it was great to meet the Dumfries based Epilepsy Specialist Nurse Rona Sturrock, who is being trained under this scheme. Specialist nurses can treat more patients and free up consultants time to deal more quickly with complex cases. It could be a blueprint for the rest of Scotland."
Epilepsy Scotland Chief Executive Lesslie Young said:
“Epilepsy Scotland developed this creative business model from scratch. It has proved to be an effective model and one which brings unlimited benefits because it will work regardless of geography or health condition. A lack of ESNs is not unique to NHS Dumfries and Galloway. We hope others will accept and replicate the project model because epilepsy affects more people in Scotland (55,000) than type-one diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and HIV combined. Other health boards can enjoy the great success of this initiative and there is scope for the collaborative model to be replicated outside of healthcare settings. We believe it offers a blueprint for success in developing epilepsy care in Scotland.”
Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn MSP, who spoke at the event, said:
“This project represents precisely the type of beneficial cross-sector cooperation that the Scottish Government seeks to promote, with public, private and third sector bodies working together to make a positive difference to patients’ lives. I will be very interested to see how this project will grow, develop and potentially inspire other initiatives in the future.”
Pictured: Joan and Epilespy Scotland Chief Executive Lesslie Young (left) and Elena Coward (centre) from UCB Pharma, one of the project’s partners.