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Putting the patient at the heart of healthcare

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Mandy Ryan

Putting the patient at the heart of healthcare

Our Chief Executive Clare Pelham spoke passionately about the need to keep patients front and centre when she appeared on a panel at the New Statesman’s Future of Healthcare conference in London at the end of October.

Clare was appearing on a panel that asked the question: “How can the life sciences sector work with the NHS to innovate and improve population health?”. She was joined by Lord Bethell, the former Innovation Minister, and Jagtar Dhanda, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Government Affairs at Bristol Myers Squibb.

Addressing policy makers, charity representatives and key people from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, Clare said that being person-centred is the future for the NHS, and something that is key across all the Epilepsy Society’s work in advocacy, research and care. She highlighted that, while research is often ‘notoriously slow’, clinical research at the Epilepsy Society means people with epilepsy are able to benefit from some of the most cutting-edge innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

Clare Pelham on event panel

Speaking on innovation, Clare said that we are hoping to create medical avatars of people with epilepsy, and use them to develop customised treatment plans for them. And she highlighted our genomics research programme, which is helping clinical teams to better understand patients’ epilepsy, and tailor their treatment to their genetic make-up.

Clare also made a poignant plea for research funding to explore the risks of all anti-seizure medications so that every woman with epilepsy who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy can be prescribed the drug which is safest both for her and her baby.  She said that almost all anti-seizure drugs carry risks for pregnant women and unborn babies, and that it was imperative for every woman to feel that they were safe and supported if they chose to start a family.

Epilepsy Society staff at New Statesman event

The Epilepsy Society also had a stand at the New Statesman event, where staff were on hand to give out information and chat with delegates about our services and campaigning activities. A large table-top tooth, which we have fondly named ‘BigTooth’, helped generate interest in our FixIt4Free campaign.


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