Campaign organisations and charities work hard to improve public understanding and awareness, provide support or carry out research  into epilepsy, which can fundamentally change the life of the individual concerned.

The Epilepsy Society’s most recent campaign is helping to focus attention on the number of sudden and unexpected deaths in epilepsy.

Its report highlights the evidence which shows that 39 per cent of deaths are avoidable. Deaths could be prevented with appropriate treatment and better access to specialty care.

The charity points out that variation between different parts of the country are an important factor to consider. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee published a report in February that found services for people with neurological conditions in England are not consistently good enough. The report found that barely more than one in 10 patients has a written care plan and four in every 10 feel local services do not work well together.

The Epilepsy Society has called on the government to tackle avoidable premature death in people with epilepsy by identifying weaknesses in health services that may contribute to the problem, commissioning a National Clinical Audit into all epilepsy-related deaths and implementing a target for the Department of Health to eradicate avoidable deaths. The recent reports and the Epilepsy Society campaign make a very strong case to government to look at what more can be done.

‘Purple Day’, the international day for epilepsy on March 26, will also be a timely reminder of the need to do more on epilepsy research and treatment.