Northern Ireland

Families criticise lack of epilepsy support in Derry

The family of a three-year-old Londonderry girl, who takes up to 15 seizures a day, have called for more epilepsy support in the north west.

Aoibh Cutliff's family have added their weight to a campaign from the Foyle Support Group for Children with Epilepsy.

The group wants a fundamental review of epilepsy services at the Western Health Trust.

Aoibh's mother, Brid, said there was a shortage of doctors and nurses.

She said that Aoibh frequently had to travel to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for an E.E.G. (Electroencephalograph) scan.

"We're told to wake her up at five O'clock in the morning and keep her awake, because they like her to sleep while she is having the E.E.G," she explained.

"When I wake her up, she takes more seizures than when I wake her naturally.

"We need an E.E.G. in Altnagelvin.

"We also need a full-time epilepsy nurse.

"At the minute, there's a part time nurse who has never set eyes on Aoibh."

Dedicated funding

The Western Trust said that it did not receive dedicated paediatric epilepsy funding but that it was committed to providing specialist children's services.

A spokesperson said: "While children with complex epilepsy are referred to the specialist neurology service in Belfast, neurology clinics are facilitated at Altnagelvin Hospital and the Erne to provide a local outreach clinic for local families."

The Trust also said it would endeavour to expand paediatric epilepsy services by seeking dedicated funding in the future.