World’s one billion people with disabilities face widespread barriers to healthcareBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3618 (Published 10 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3618
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The growing population of people with disabilities face barriers to
healthcare across the world and worldwide government action is vital.
In the UK, up to 30% of people with severe learning disabilities also
have epilepsy. Both conditions are associated with stigma associated with
worse healthcare outcomes.
Most people with learning disabilities can access outpatient
neurology services without additional assistance. In the Wandsworth
Community Learning Disabilities Team, the Specialist Epilepsy Service for
People with Learning Disabilities (SESPLD) works collaboratively with many
disciplines and outside agencies to improve access to mainstream services.
It also provides a service where people struggle to access mainstream
systems even with assistance, or have additional neuropsychiatric needs.
We recently completed an audit that demonstrated that the SESPLD is
generally meeting standards of good practice regarding the specific needs
of people with learning disabilities according to NICE guidelines for
epilepsy. Particular attention was made to the consideration and
management of co-morbidities, psychological and behavioural problems, and
long term risks posed to individuals.
This specialist approach might be worthy of consideration for
governments around the globe.
1. National Institute for Clinical Excellence. The epilepsies: the
diagnosis and management of the epilepsies in adult and children in
primary and secondary care, Clinical guidelines 20. London: NICE; 2004.
Competing interests: No competing interests