Epilepsy support for pregnant mums

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 Jose Small 1


Campaigners and NHS professionals in Southend have pledged to work together to promote the importance of advice and care for pregnant women who have epilepsy. The move follows new guidance published at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress in Birmingham, the first time guidance on epilepsy in pregnancy have been produced.

Diane Blake-Lawson, Chair of the South East Essex Epilepsy Support Group, said: “Epilepsy is a common condition with around 600,000 people suffering from it in the UK of which an estimated 275,000 are women. A third of women with epilepsy are of child-bearing age and most women with epilepsy have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. However, having frequent seizures during pregnancy can be harmful to both mother and baby and pose significant risks. Women with epilepsy need the support of a specialist healthcare team throughout their pregnancy.”

Research shows children born to mothers who take anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy, in particular sodium valproate, are at an increased risk of physical and developmental problems including spina bifida, heart defects and autism. However, the new guideline emphasises that stopping AEDs completely or altering the dose can worsen seizures and pose a serious risk to both mother and baby.

Dr José Garcia Lobera, Chair of NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The guidance is very useful for GPs and shows how important it is that a woman with epilepsy seeks advice from health professionals such as a neurologist, specialist nurse or their GP before conception. There is clearly a need for support and counselling before, during and after pregnancy and we need to make sure a pregnant woman with epilepsy is aware of the benefits of working with her GP in order to ensure appropriate treatment.”

The CCG will be promoting the new guidance to all GPs in Southend-on-Sea and will work with patient groups to ensure information is communicated to patients as well.

Paul Ilett

Head of Communications and Engagement

Office: 01702 313690 | Email:  paulilett@nhs.net   

Share your thoughts on non-emergency Patient Transport Services

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The NHS in south Essex is looking for patient feedback on non-emergency transport. 

Non-emergency patient transport services provide free transport to and from NHS services for people who have a medical need for it.  This service uses wide range of vehicle types and levels of care that are consistent with the patients’ medical needs. 

Public Consultation On Gluten-Free Prescribing

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For the past 30 years the NHS has prescribed gluten free foods to patients who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. This service started when gluten-free foods were not as readily available as they are today. The NHS has a limited budget and with an increasing demand for services it must evaluate every service it pays for.

Governing body meeting in public 2 June 2016

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Our next Governing Body meeting in public will take place on 2 June 2016 at Harcourt House, 5-15 Harcourt Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6HT.

There is no visitor car parking on site, you are advised to use the pay and display car park at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's civic centre.

Please note that printed copies of papers will not be available at the meeting.

Essex Success Regime

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Click here to read the latest information about the Essex Success Regime.

It provides a recap on what has happened so far, the aims of the programme, who is involved and the next steps; with details on how people can get involved and help to shape future health and care services in mid and south Essex.

This is the first briefing on our developing work programme for 2016. We will follow up with further details over the coming months, including opportunities to join the discussions both online and through a range of meetings.