News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Ministry of Health survey improves understanding of epilepsy

26 March 2018

The Ministry of Health recognises the challenges that people living with epilepsy face and is working to understand the condition better.

To help raise awareness of epilepsy and mark Epilepsy New Zealand’s ‘Purple Day’ campaign, the Ministry of Health is releasing the findings of its first Epilepsy Consumer Experience Survey today.

The Ministry surveyed 276 people living with epilepsy, to understand more about their experiences with health services, support services, and in their community, school and employment situations.

“Understanding the challenges, needs and priorities of people with epilepsy, what services are working well and where we can improve, is critical to helping improve the services we provide,” says Ministry of Health group manager District Health Board (DHB) performance and support Sam Kunowski.

Epilepsy is a condition defined by recurring epileptic seizures that arise due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There are many causes of epilepsy and many types of seizures that can be experienced. Children and the elderly are more likely to be diagnosed with epilepsy than other age groups. Approximately 60 people die from an epilepsy-related cause each year.

“In New Zealand, approximately 40 to 50 thousand people are affected by epilepsy, with approximately 2,000 new diagnoses each year,” says Mr Kunowski. “People with epilepsy are high users of health and social services. Yet there is limited understanding of how the condition affects those living with it, or their families and whanau.”

"Some common experiences and issues highlighted by the survey included social challenges, anxiety or depression, physical injury, social isolation and being unable to drive for periods of time."

“We want to use the survey information to guide aspects of our epilepsy service model and improvement action plan. We want all people with epilepsy to live well and have access to high quality, people-centred care that is integrated across hospital and community settings,” says Mr Kunowski.

The next Epilepsy Consumer Experience survey will be conducted in three years time.

The Epilepsy Consumer Experience Survey is available to view on the Ministry of Health's website:


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Tom Scott's Avantdale Bowling Club: The 10th Annual Taite Music Prize Announced

The Taite Music Prize 2019 ceremony also saw the presentation of the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut, Independent Spirit Award, and Independent Music NZ Classic Record award. More>>


Elisabeth Calder: Gifted Editor And Publisher To Receive Honorary Doctorate

The English editor and publisher who discovered some of the greatest writers of our times, including Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes and Anita Brookner, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Canterbury (UC) at the University’s Arts and Science graduation ceremony on 18 April. More>>

Howard Davis: Charlie Parker With Strings - Live!

Hear these swinging rhythms with lush strings and a twist of bebop when Dick Oatts performs Charlie Parker with Strings accompanied by the New Zealand String Quartet and Jazz Ensemble, Musical Director Rodger Fox. More>>

Disaster Response: Canterbury Quakes - 'Widespread Adverse Effects' On Mental Health

The researchers noted that while support services such as free counselling exist, New Zealand's public health services are already under strain and even small increases in demand may result in a considerable extra burden for health workers. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland