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Clinically unnecessary and avoidable emergency health service use for epilepsy: A survey of what English services are doing to reduce it

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Amy Mathieson, Anthony G. Marson, Mike Jackson, Leone Ridsdale, Steve Goodacre, Jon M. Dickson, Adam J. Noble

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

King's Authors


Purpose: Epilepsy is associated with costly unplanned health service use. The UK's National Audits of Seizure Management in Hospital found use was often clinically unnecessary, avoidable and typically led to little benefit for epilepsy management. We systematically identified how services have responded to reduce such use. Methods: We invited England's ambulance services, neuroscience and neurology centres and a random sample of Emergency Departments (EDs) to complete a survey. It asked what innovations they (or services they worked with) had made in the past 5 years or were making, the priority afforded to them, user involvement, what comprised usual practice, and barriers to change. Results: 72/87 of invited (82.8 %) services responded. EDs ascribed less priority to reducing emergency hospital use for epilepsy and convulsions, than other service types. Overall, 60 % of services reported a change(s) and/or were planning one. Neurology/neuroscience sites (93.8 %) were most likely to report change; EDs (15.4 %) least likely. Eleven types of change were identified; 5 sought to promote proactive epilepsy care and avert the need for emergency care; 3 focused on the care received from emergency services; and 3 focused on follow-up care ED attendees received. Most were for those with established, rather than new epilepsy and targeted known limitations to current care provision. Conclusion: Reducing emergency hospital use by PWE is a high priority for most health services in England and a number of new services have been developed. However, they have not been consistently implemented and innovation is lacking in some areas of care.

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