Surgery boost for children with drug-resistant epilepsy
Children with drug-resistant epilepsy across
England will benefit from a major expansion of specialist brain
surgery and assessment, the NHS has announced today.
Epilepsy is a tendency to have recurrent seizures
and affects around 600,000 people in the UK. However,
approximately one third of patients do not respond to medication,
continuing to experience seizures. For a proportion of this group
brain surgery can be highly effective, leading to seizure freedom
in up to 80 per cent of cases.
The announcement to expand specialist brain
surgery and assessment for children with epilepsy follows the Safe
and Sustainable review of children's neurological services. During
the review, clinical evidence emerged which suggested that there
are significant advantages for performing early epilepsy surgery
during the first five years of life
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS
Foundation Trust is currently the largest centre carrying out this
type of highly specialised surgery. Alder Hey Children's
Hospital and the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital will jointly
become one of four specialist centres in the country. From
November 2012 existing services Manchester and Liverpool will be
expanded to enable doctors to treat three times as many patients as
they currently treat now. The intention in the first year is for
all children aged under 5 years to be operated on at the Royal
Manchester Children's Hospital (RMCH).
Mr Vivek Josan, Consultant Neurosurgeon at RMCH,
said: "We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated as one of
the four nationally commissioned Paediatric Neurosurgical units to
provide this much needed service. We will be working with Alder Hey
Children's Hospital in providing this highly specialised surgery to
the children in the North of England. We are extremely proud of our
neuroscience service here at RMCH and today's announcement is a
validation of our superb track record in providing state of the art
neurological and neurosurgical services'.
Dr Tim Martland, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at RMCH said:
"This development of our service will allow us to offer this
potentially life changing surgery earlier and to many more children
from across the North of England. Many parents are worried when
epilepsy surgery is discussed and it can be viewed as a last
resort. Many children, though, are seizure free after the surgery
and go on to have more independent lives."
A recent report by 'Young Epilepsy' (formerly The
National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy) estimated up
to 300 more children a year could benefit from this treatment in
England and Wales Today's announcement will see a trebling in
the number of children treated each year from 125 to approximately
350 by 2015-16.
Epilepsy Action's Deputy Chief Executive, Simon
Wigglesworth said: "We're delighted with today's announcement which
will be of great benefit to children with epilepsy and their
families. This is a huge move forward that will help build skills
and expertise in the field of epilepsy. Most importantly it will
give more children with difficult to control epilepsy a chance to
have surgery which could significantly impact on their quality of
lives. We would strongly encourage those responsible for the care
of children with difficult to control epilepsy to evaluate their
patients and consider whether they may be suitable for surgery and
refer them to the new centres for assessment."
"There is strong evidence that the sooner the surgery is
performed the better the long term outcome for the child's
development. This announcement makes that life changing treatment
available to more children."
Children when referred to these services will
undergo a series of specialist investigations and assessments to
determine whether a child is suitable for surgery. One challenge
will be ensuring suitable children are referred in a timely
Anne Moore, President of the Society of British
Neurological Surgeons, said: "We welcome today's announcement of
new investment in vital services for children with severe epilepsy
to make them safe and sustainable in future. This will enable
more children to benefit from this specialised treatment which can
have huge quality of life benefits."
The full list of centres that will provide surgery is as
Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
North Bristol NHS Trust with University Hospitals Bristol NHS
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
(GOSH) with Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust with Central
Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The expansion of specialist brain surgery and assessment for
children with epilepsy is a result of the Safe and
Sustainable review of children's neurosurgical services.
Next week (20-26 May) is National Epilepsy Week.
NHS Specialised Services communications team on
020 7025 7520 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Royal Manchester Children's Hospital contact:
Communications Department, Tel: 0161 276