SUDEP Action and its partnership of researchers, doctors and bereaved families have won the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Award for Education and Training in Patient Safety.

The Patient Safety Awards aim to transform the UK’s approach to delivering high quality care. They champion patient safety for the best experience to patients and carers.

The Education and Training in Patient Safety award went to SUDEP Action, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Plymouth University and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. The team developed the Epilepsy Self-Monitoring app EpSMon, and SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist, both of which have been hailed as innovative approaches to reduce sudden death in people with epilepsy. To win the award, the team presented to the judges, highlighting the importance of the project. The team were supported by Professor Matthew Walker from University College London, who is on the Development Group for the projects. 

The panel of judges, drawn from experts from around the country, said: “We were impressed with the use of technology to overcome barriers and empower health professionals and patients to prevent deaths. The results are outstanding.”
The project started as a study led by Dr Rohit Shankar, it was supported by SUDEP Action and made possible with funding from Kt’s fund, a charity set up in memory of Katie Hallet from Cornwall. Katie was a young student nurse who died suddenly aged 20 from epilepsy.

SUDEP Action chief Executive Jane Hanna said: 

“This award gives recognition that when teams unite behind the goal of saving lives, anything is possible. Bereaved families want investment now in safety tools so that best practice can be spread and lives can be saved. The project has no statutory funding and thanks must be given to all our bereaved families who have raised and are raising funds for the charity and the commitment of all the partners”

Dr Rohit Shankar commented: 

"The SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist and EpSMon have raised the profile of people with epilepsy and the risks they face at a national and international level in the health arena. Winning this HSJ Award highlights that they are all round, cost effective tools to improve patient welfare and safety!"

Liz Hollingdale who set up Kt’s Fund in memory of her daughter Katie said: 

“We are delighted to learn about this prestigious award. Katie would be overwhelmed at what has been achieved in her memory. I hope this will encourage more people with epilepsy to download EpSMon, and more medical professionals to use the SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist.”

Dr Craig Newman, Senior Research Fellow and Mobile Health Tech Innovations Lead at Plymouth University, who designed EpSMon commented: 

“We are delighted to have won this award. This is a great partnership project and one which has true potential to change the lives of people with epilepsy. This project constitutes a superb multi-disciplinary approach to helping people to manage their health.”

The SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist is a free, quick to use tool to help health professionals monitor and discuss their patients’ epilepsy, risks and overall wellbeing. It has been incorporated into the Epilepsy Self-Monitoring app EpSMon, Which helps people with epilepsy to self-monitor their condition and keep track of their wellbeing. EpSMon and the Checklist are part of the national epilepsy commissioning toolkit and the Checklist is now in use in clinical practice across the UK.

Earlier this year, the team scooped the BMJ award for Neurology for enhanced patient safety in epilepsy. The team’s Epilepsy Self-Monitoring app, EpSMon also won the prestigious international challenge for innovation by the Epilepsy Foundation of America SUDEP Institute. The challenge was for a method to reduce the risk of seizures with the purpose of preventing Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

Epilepsy claims around 1,200 lives in the UK every year, at least 600 of these through Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Research shows that about 42% of these deaths may be preventable through better management of known risk factors. There are around 600,000 people with epilepsy in the UK with about 87 people diagnosed with the condition every day.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony on 5 and 6 July, 2016 in Manchester.