The SNP MSP secured the commitment during Portfolio Questions at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday. Ms Freeman agreed that it’s an important specialist role and promised to assist the health board with any barriers that might be preventing them from fulfilling it. “I would share Ms McAlpine’s concern that Dumfries and Galloway appears to be an outlier in what is a pretty important area,” said Ms Freeman who pledged, “I will personally look at why Dumfries and Galloway’s board has taken the view that it has.”
Epilepsy Scotland estimates that there are between 150-250 children with epilepsy living in Dumfries and Galloway, yet it’s the only health board area in Scotland without a dedicated paediatric epilepsy nurse.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m delighted with the reply from Jeane Freeman to my question on the lack of a specialist paediatric epilepsy nurse in Dumfries & Galloway. She shares the concern of myself and Epilepsy Scotland and will ask the local health board why they’re the only one in Scotland not offering this service.
“Specialist nurses for kids with epilepsy are doing a great job across Scotland and the Royal College of Nursing recommend all children with the condition are seen by one between reviews. I spoke to a mum the other day who said a specialist nurse would make a huge difference to her daughter, who can have life threatening seizures lasting 80 minutes.
“Ironically smaller population health board areas such as neighbouring Scottish Borders, with similar rural geography, have clinical nurse specialists so it makes no sense for Dumfries and Galloway children to miss out. This is a local decision and I am glad the Health Secretary plans to look into it.”