Published: 30/01/2003, Volume II3, No. 5840 Page 7

A Department of Health epilepsy action plan to reduce deaths and long-term incapacity will not contain enough rigorous targets or attached funding to be effective, campaigners are warning.

Delayed from August 2002, the plan is due to be launched any day.

Jane Hanna, director of campaign group Epilepsy Bereaved, which is speaking for a range of epilepsy charities, said she was concerned that the plan would not have its own targets or attached funding and would come too late for organisations already planning their priorities for the next three years: 'The government has finished with targets at a national level because people are struggling with existing ones.

That means long-term conditions like epilepsy...are marginalised and neglected.'

Epilepsy will form part of the national service framework for long-term conditions, due out next year. But Epilepsy Bereaved is concerned that the reference group of specialists did not include a clinician with special interest in epilepsy.

It claimed epilepsy risked marginalisation because it would only be considered along with other neurological conditions.