After a diagnosis of epilepsy, patients can benefit enormously from input by a specialist epilepsy nurse and a neurologist. Getting on the right medication, bringing seizures under control, learning about the condition and all the practical support to get life back on track. But according to the charity Epilepsy Action Wales, epilepsy patients in West Wales are waiting 18 months to see a neurologist and the ratio of patients to epilepsy nurses vastly exceeds the recommended limit. Whilst waiting to get this input and bring seizures under control, patients won't be able to drive, might not be able to work, could struggle with childcare and simply day to day life.
The charity has called on the Hywel Dda University Health Board to immediately appoint a specialist epilepsy nurse. In a statement, the Health Board director of nursing said: they are taking steps to review the current access to neurology services, capacity and have made recent appointments of an additional epilepsy specialist nurse and a new consultant.
It is hoped waiting times and capacity improve soon; both in West Wales and elsewhere in the UK where resources are overstretched and patients' health and wellbeing are suffering as a result.
Epilepsy Action Wales said there were 32,000 people with epilepsy in Wales and only nine adult epilepsy specialist nurses - making an average patient load of 3,500 per nurse. It said the current recommended limit was 300 patients per nurse.