Healthcare system and roles

    Fast facts

    1. 1
      In adults, epilepsy is normally diagnosed by a neurologist. If you were diagnosed as a child, you might have been diagnosed by a paediatrician
    2. 2
      People who have good seizure control will usually be signed off from neurology and see their GP for reviews
    3. 3
      If you have complex epilepsy or other conditions, you might be treated by a number of healthcare professionals working together. This is usually referred to as a multi-disciplinary team
    4. 4
      Healthcare services in the NHS are divided into primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care (more on this below)
    5. 5
      There are differences in the healthcare services available depending on where you live. You might find you have to travel to access some services

    NHS healthcare

    Healthcare services in the NHS are divided into primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care

    Click or tap the cards

    • What is primary care?

      Primary care provides the first point of contact to the healthcare system through your GP or pharmacist.

    • What is secondary care?

      Secondary care is usually delivered in a hospital, but will sometimes be provided in a community based health centre.

      It’s where diagnosis or planned care is provided. A&E departments are part of secondary care.

    • What is tertiary care?

      Tertiary care is healthcare provided at specialist centres, usually based in larger hospitals. Tertiary care providers deliver highly specialist treatment or care, such as neurosurgery. It includes specialised tests and assessments.

    Who you might see about your epilepsy

    A wide range of healthcare professionals might be involved in your care – for example:

    Word cloud: Psychology, Psychiatry, Epilepsy specialist nurse, Social work, Occupational health, Paediatrician, Doctor, Nurse ,Counsellor, Accident and emergency, Pharmacist, Epilepsy specialist, Neuropsychology, Dietitian, Neuroradiology, Clinical nurse specialists, Neurophysiology, Neurosurgery


    Healthcare roles and epilepsy

    Here we look in more detail at some of the different healthcare professionals you might see.

    Young woman talking to a healthcare professional

    Making a complaint

    If you’re not happy with your treatment you might want to raise this with a support service that can help you to resolve issues and advise on complaints processes.

    Who to contact is different depending on where you live in the UK:

    Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)


    Patient and Client Council

    Northern Ireland

    Community Health Council


    Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)


    Top tips

    Do something

    The NHS isn’t the only place that provides healthcare services. You might find there are groups, charities and local organisations that provide support where you live. What have you used that is local to you? What else can you find?

    More info

    You can search for epilepsy services near to you on the Epilepsy Action website

    Support in your area

    Epilepsy Action has more information about getting the right treatment

    Treatment and care for epilepsy
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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