Freedom from discrimination
Our ‘Care and treatment: your rights and choices’ information explains your rights and choices with regard to your epilepsy care and treatment. ‘Rights’ are in the NHS Constitution and the Handbook to the NHS Constitution, and you are entitled to them by law. Where we say ‘you should’, you may not have a legal right, but these are recommendations made in the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guideline on epilepsy.
You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect and to not be discriminated against
“You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights.” NHS Constitution
“You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of NHS services including on grounds of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status.” NHS Constitution
As well as the above rights, and professional codes in NHS services, the Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination, including on the basis of disability. Under the Equality Act, someone has a disability if they have:
“a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
Epilepsy is a physical, long-term condition. People with epilepsy are protected under the Equality Act even if their seizures are controlled or if they don’t consider themselves to be ‘disabled’.
The Act covers healthcare and also education, employment, and access to goods and services, such as shops, banks and public transport. Under the Equality Act 2010, you do not have to disclose that you have a disability or that you are a carer for someone who does. However, if you do tell people this, for example an employer, they can make sure they treat you fairly, and avoid various different types of discrimination.
For more about The Equality Act 2010 visit equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/equality-act-guidance
For more about employment and epilepsy visit epilepsysociety.org.uk/work-employment-and-epilepsy
For more about equality law and discrimination visit epilepsysociety.org.uk/living-epilepsy/work-employment
For more about the NHS Constitution visit nhs.uk/NHSConstitution
For more about the Handbook to the NHS Constitution visit gov.uk/government/publications/supplements-to-the-nhs-constitution-for-england
For more about the NICE guideline visit nice.org.uk/guidance/ng217
Information updated: March 2023
Our ‘Care and treatment: your rights and choices’ information explains your rights and choices with regard to your epilepsy care and treatment.
Sources used to develop Care and treatment: your rights and choices.
A clear care pathway to show you what to do from the first seizure to referrals and reviews.