Epilepsy

Part of Culture, Media and Sport Committee – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 26th February 2015.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 3:51 pm, 26th February 2015

I am extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend.

Mr and Mrs Monks feel that there was a significant breakdown in the care of their daughter, and I certainly agree with them. The speed and severity with which her mental health deteriorated due to her epilepsy medication were not considered a priority—they were not adequately prioritised—and they feel they have been badly let down by the medical professionals they saw in the days leading up to Jessica’s death.

Jessica’s death was apparently avoidable. We need to know why it was not avoided. There are a number of questions to be answered by the NHS and the investigation is ongoing, as, indeed, is the coroner’s inquest. I contacted the coroner before raising this case and they were content for me to do so. I will not run through all the questions, some of which are apparent, but I should like to ask in particular why was the consultant neurologist not more available? Why, when it is well known, as the Library brief explains, that some of this medication can cause these side effects, was more immediate, perhaps telephone, support not available in the event of an episode?