Wednesday, 14 October 2015
The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing questions to the minister representing the Minister for Health on the subject of epilepsy in South Australia.
The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: This afternoon, I hosted a briefing about epilepsy and its impact on thousands of South Australians. Most touching was the presentation of a parent whose young child has experienced regression in cognitive function to the point where they now have an intellectual disability, as a result of a rare form of epilepsy. This child once had a seizure that lasted approximately 55 minutes. However, the parents have struggled to get an adequate diagnosis and support, waiting approximately two years for something as basic as seeing a neurologist. Despite raising the issue of epilepsy in this place back in February, I have to date received no response from the minister, so I raise the questions again now, in case they were somehow missed by his office:
1. Is the minister aware of the unmet need in regard to epilepsy support, services and education, particularly in the northern suburbs of Adelaide?
2. If not, why not, given that this proposal for the support of people with epilepsy in the northern suburbs was brought to his office some two years ago?
3. Is the minister planning to address the issue of unmet need in the northern suburbs in particular?
4. Why does the Transforming Health document remain silent on the issue of epilepsy support and services?
To those questions I add:
5. What is the minister doing to address the up to 5-year wait to see a neurologist for epilepsy diagnosis and treatment?
6. Why does the minister continue to ignore the lack of support for epilepsy diagnosis and support in the South Australian health system?
7. Given that 34,000 South Australians currently are diagnosed with epilepsy and a further 34,000 will experience at least one seizure in their lifetime whilst not being explicitly diagnosed with epilepsy, why is South Australia still the only state in Australia to my understanding not to recognise epilepsy in and of itself as a disability?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions and her ongoing interest in this important subject. I will undertake to take the questions she has raised previously and the other three questions she has asked today additionally to the Minister for Health in the other place and seek a response on her behalf.