Epilepsy Scotland provides the secretariat to the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Epilepsy at the Scottish Parliament. The group brings people interested in epilepsy issues and provides Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) with information and access to expert opinion. The group meets three to four times a year and aims to address the needs of people with epilepsy in Scotland. This is achieved by members committing to raising public awareness and parliamentary action in addressing health service provision, epilepsy awareness in education, employment concerns, and social inclusion.
The group is convened by Kenneth Gibson MSP; with David Torrance MSP and Alasdair Allan MSP acting as Deputy Conveners. The group also includes 10 other MSPs from a variety of political parties, non-MSP individuals and organisations with an interest in epilepsy. The full list of members and minutes of every meeting can be found here.
Over the last year the group has covered mental health in children, epilepsy in pregnancy, and cannabinoids. The work of the CPG has created numerous successes for people with epilepsy;
- Following a CPG meeting the government held a national summit on the lack of neurophysiology provision and access to EEG and video telemetry. NHS Lothian then improved their access to video-telemetry tests which cut their waiting list from eighteen months to seven.
- MSPs signed a motion supporting the commitment to improve mental health in children with epilepsy and discussions are now being held to nationally roll-out a mental health early detection scheme which was piloted in NHS Lothian.
- Epilepsy Scotland are now working with the Scottish Government to create new pathways of care for pregnant women with epilepsy.
Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries often attend the CPG which makes it a great opportunity to put questions to the people in power and hold them to account. If you would like more information on the work of the Cross-Party Group or how you can attend a meeting please email ATonberg@epilepsyscotland.org.uk or RJohnson@epilepsyscotland.org.uk.