Epilepsy Society's care service to be expanded by NHS

A counselling and advice service provided by the National Society for Epilepsy may become a mainstream part of NHS care by the end of 2003.

The society plans to expand its hospital-based counselling and advice service to a further 35 NHS hospitals and clinics by the end of the year.

It already augments the service provided to epilepsy sufferers in 31 NHS hospitals throughout the UK.

The Epilepsy Information Network, funded by the Community Fund with a grant of just under £500,000, involves 70 trained volunteers working alongside NHS neurologists around the UK to provide emotional support to newly diagnosed epilepsy sufferers.

"Young people are often full of questions like 'Can I drive?' and 'Will it affect my job and my relationship?' after they have seen a consultant, said the society's chief executive Graham Faulkner.

Its volunteers man help desks to provide answers to questions such as these, and are supported by eight paid part-time regional co-ordinators, who are in turn supported by a national co-ordinator.

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