It is an honour to follow Kate Hoey, and I hope that she obtains justice for her constituent. It is also an honour to follow my hon. Friend Laura Sandys. As I said earlier, she will be a great loss to the House, and I am personally sorry that she is leaving this place because I think she has added a great dimension to it, particularly on the subject of epilepsy.
I declare an interest because the Epilepsy Society is based in my constituency and I am proud to be a vice-president. It has been working with and for people affected by epilepsy for 123 years. Although the detail of its aims and objectives have altered over the years, fundamentally it remains true to the vision set out by the group of philanthropists and neurologists who established it in 1892—to cure, treat and prevent epilepsy. It is unique.
At the Epilepsy Society’s Chalfont centre, groundbreaking epilepsy research laboratories are co-located with England’s only dedicated epilepsy assessment and treatment centre. Led by medical director Professor Ley Sander and head of genetics Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, some of the world’s pre-eminent epilepsy researchers and clinicians undertake research and clinical practice at the Chalfont centre. The Epilepsy Society’s researchers have been central to new scientific discoveries, in particular research that demonstrates the breadth of genetic influences in epilepsy. The society also brings together state-of-the-art diagnostic tools for epilepsy in one place, including the UK’s only dedicated epilepsy MRI scanner and a specialised epilepsy therapeutic drug monitoring service that is provided to hospitals across the UK and Europe.
The Epilepsy Society is also part of a unique three-way partnership with the NHS and with academia—the national hospital for neurology and neurosurgery at University college London—that has the benefit of translating research into clinical practice, providing access to funding, attracting top researchers and clinicians and providing the flexibility to innovate. The partnership has been recognised by the World Health Organisation.