Survey shows more awareness of epilepsy is needed in the workplace

25 May 2016

A new survey on adults (18 years +) in Great Britain has suggested that over a quarter of people (26%) would be concerned about working with a co-worker with epilepsy. The majority of those people (63%) said the reason is because they have no idea how to help if a co-worker had a seizure.

The survey was carried out online by YouGov on over 2,000 adults, aiming to represent the whole of Great Britain.

Other responses in the survey showed that over three-quarters of people had not been offered training on dealing with seizures at work. Meanwhile, only about one in six people said they would definitely know what to do if they saw someone have 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.”

There is more information on employment and epilepsy on the Epilepsy Action website.