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Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will appoint a National Clinical Director for Epilepsy; (258976)

(2) if his Department will take steps to encourage primary care trusts to appoint epilepsy specialist nurses;

(3) what assessment he has made of the implementation by healthcare providers of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy;

From April 2009, the Care Quality Commission will take over from the Healthcare Commission and will consider, in discussion with stakeholders including the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), how to take account of NICE guidance as it develops its compliance criteria.

Local trusts are responsible for the skill mix of their workforce including the provision of specialist nurses for patients with epilepsy. They are best placed to assess the health needs of their local health community and must have the freedom to deploy staff in ways appropriate for local conditions.

There are no plans to appoint a national clinical director for epilepsy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures his Department has put in place to ensure continuity in care for people with epilepsy in their transition from childhood to adulthood. (258979)

It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities to ensure appropriate services are in place to meet the transition needs of people with childhood-onset conditions, such as epilepsy, moving from children's to adult services. The “National Service Framework for Long-term (neurological) Conditions” includes guidance for commissioners and service providers on providing these person-centred services. A copy of the framework has already been placed in the Library.