UK survey suggests more awareness of epilepsy in the workplace is needed

A new online UK survey suggests the over a quarter (26%) of people surveyed would be concerned about working with a colleague with epilepsy.

The survey was undertaken by YouGov UK, an international internet-based market research firm based in the UK, on over 2,000 adults with the aim of representing the views of the whole country.

The majority of adults that responded to this survey (63%) said that the reason they would be concerned about working with a colleague with epilepsy was that they had no idea to help a co-worker who was having a seizure.

Over 75% of people indicated that their employer had not provided any training on epilepsy at work. Only one in six responders said they would definitely know what to do if they saw someone having a seizure.

Dr Dominic Heaney, consultant neurologist at University College London, said: "I speak to patients with epilepsy every day. Apart from the challenges of finding the right anti-epileptic treatment, another important task is to preserve, as far as possible, the normality of their lives after the epilepsy diagnosis.

"That means maintaining relationships with family and friends, but also their jobs and importantly, income.

"These survey results reinforce what I have heard from patients: discrimination in the workplace is common and often unwitting. There is a lack of knowledge about epilepsy among the general public and about what epilepsy means and doesn't mean. People are unaware of the right actions if somebody has a seizure, or even what a seizure may look like.

"Much could be done. Seizures can present in many different ways, so it is important that people know how to recognise them and what to do to give the best help possible."

Source: Epilepsy Today

You want also want to read Epilepsy Ireland's "Employers Guide to Epilepsy"