Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan raises concerns from Epilepsy Society with the Health Secretary during the House of Commons Covid-19 update

Press Release from

Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP

House of Commons, LONDON, SW1A 0AA

17 July 2020

RT HON DAME CHERYL GILLAN MP RAISES CONCERNS FROM EPILEPSY SOCIETY WITH THE HEALTH SECRETARY DURING THE HOUSE OF COMMONS COVID-19 UPDATE ON THURSDAY 16 JULY

Concerns raised by Epilepsy Society which is based in the Chesham & Amersham constituency were brought directly to the attention of Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, the Health Secretary, by Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP during an update on Covid-19 in the House of Commons on Thursday 16 July.

Dame Cheryl said:

“ May I offer my support to the Secretary of State, who has been working tirelessly during this crisis? Epilepsy Society is a major charity based in my constituency. It states that people with epilepsy are adversely affected by covid-19, particularly because the fever associated with coronavirus can trigger an increase in the number of seizures and cause breakthrough seizures. Despite that, the Secretary of State will know that people with epilepsy are not classified as clinically vulnerable for coronavirus or the flu, and they do not qualify for the free flu vaccine or any future covid vaccine. Will the Secretary of State look into that and ensure that that is remedied as soon as possible, so that we can protect that valuable cohort of people?”

The Health Secretary answered:

“ My right hon. Friend is an incredibly strong voice for those who suffer with epilepsy, and I will ensure that the clinical decision makers who make ​recommendations on the order of priority for any vaccine, both flu and coronavirus, take a specific look at the latest evidence on epilepsy. I cannot give her the guaranteed assurance that she seeks, because those decisions are rightly taken on the basis of recommendation from clinicians. I would not want to break that important principle, but I can ensure that the latest information, including on the impact of coronavirus on those with epilepsy, is taken into account in the decisions.”

Dame Cheryl, who is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy,  said afterwards, “I am proud to be a Vice President of Epilepsy Society which does such excellent work to help my constituents and others throughout the UK who are living with epilepsy. I was pleased to hear that the Secretary of State for Health will raise these concerns with the clinicians and that these issues will be given careful consideration. I have followed up my question with a letter to the Secretary of State urging a positive decision as soon as possible.”