Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Epilepsy Centre

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Health questions regarding an Epilepsy Centre South Australia proposal to establish a northern hub for epilepsy education, treatment and support in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Approximately 224,000 Australians and 50 million people world-wide live with epilepsy. A seizure may range from brief attention lapses, muscle jerks and repetitive movements to severe and prolonged convulsions and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy can occur at any age, but is more common among infants and children and those over 65 years of age.

South Australia is the only state in Australia never to have provided government funding to the local community epilepsy body. Despite this, The Epilepsy Centre actively reduces pressure on many public health services and in fact provides integrated, in-house and multi-disciplinary support to a range of public hospitals and government departments with regard to epilepsy. In a typical year, The Epilepsy Centre will assist people living with epilepsy and also the broader community through things such as counselling and support to over 1,950 of its members and over 350 families, seizure first aid training to schools and families, home visits on a regular basis to 200 clients, and so on.

At present, there is significant unmet need for epilepsy support in the northern suburbs, in particular since the clinics that The Epilepsy Centre currently partner with to offer support are at the Royal Adelaide, Women’s and Children’s and Flinders hospitals. It leaves a large population without any adequate support. The Epilepsy Centre put forward a proposal to the Minister for Health in March 2013—two years ago. There has been silence from the minister since the proposal was made. Transforming Health is also silent on this proposal. My questions to the minister are:

1.Is the minister aware of the unmet need in regard to epilepsy support, services and education in the northern suburbs of Adelaide?

2.If not, why not, given that this proposal was brought to his office two years ago?

3.Is the minister planning to address the issues of unmet need in the northern suburbs?

4.Why does the Transforming Health document remain silent on the issue of epilepsy support?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers): I thank the honourable member for her important questions. I will refer them to the Minister for Health in another place and bring back a response.