Work starts on world-leading £6.4m centre to put Scotland at forefront of epilepsy treatment and assessment
One of the most advanced centres in the world for the assessment and treatment of epilepsy moved a step closer to reality today (Tuesday 7 February) as work gets underway on Quarriers’s new £6.4 million independent hospital in Govan.
The charity’s chief executive Paul Moore will be joined to cut the first sod for the new Scottish Epilepsy Centre (SEC) by supporter and Scottish business leader Boyd Tunnock – of the makers of the world-famous tea cake Thomas Tunnock Ltd – who has donated £40,000 for a consulting room.
The new 12-bed SEC in Govan – located close to the Institute of Neurology at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital – is expected to be completed in 12 months. It will replace the charity’s existing centre in Quarrier’s Village near Bridge of Weir which was built in 1970 and is coming to the end of its working life.
When it opens in spring 2013, the new SEC will be the only centre of its kind in Scotland – and one of the most advanced in the world – with state-of-the-art equipment offering assessment and diagnosis for people with complex forms of epilepsy as well as diagnosis of the condition where it is uncertain.
The majority of Scotland’s trainee neurologists will be offered placements at the centre, which will also deliver training for family doctors, nurses and conduct cutting-edge research into epilepsy. It is estimated that 54,000 people in Scotland have the condition.
Paul Moore, chief executive of Quarriers, said: “Today represents another significant milestone for Quarriers’s work supporting people living with epilepsy. We have been involved in epilepsy services for over a century and currently assess more than 100 people each year with some of the most complex forms of the condition.
“However, our existing centre is coming to the end of its working life. The new Scottish Epilepsy Centre in Govan will be a centre of excellence and enable the charity to be at the forefront of assessment and diagnosis of epilepsy in the UK and further a field. We will also be able to support more people each year living with one of the most common neurological conditions in Scotland.”
Boyd Tunnock, who has been a supporter of Quarriers for many years, added: “Quarriers does fantastic work across Scotland and when I heard about the plans for the Scottish Epilepsy Centre I jumped at the chance to support the project. It is an honour to cut the sod for a world-class centre to be built in Scotland for the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.”
William Quarrier, the charity’s founder, first became interested in the plight of those living with epilepsy in the 1900s when a Colony of Mercy was established in Quarrier’s Village. Since then the charity has treated thousands of patients including Christine Cameron.
The 35-year-old from Airdrie in North Lanarkshire had childhood epilepsy but was taken off medication at 13 when her seizures stopped. However, in her 20s the epileptic seizures returned and she was referred to Quarriers’s existing epilepsy assessment centre seven years ago.
Epilepsy specialists at Quarriers found Christine’s seizures were triggered by stress and this diagnosis has enabled her to control her condition.
Christine said: “The support I received from the staff at Quarriers was invaluable. It has transformed my life. I also know I can pick up the phone and talk to staff at the centre if I have any concerns of questions; the support structure as an out-patient is fantastic.
“The new Quarriers centre will be great – it will not only be able to treat more people but will also be better for those patients who need emergency hospital care as it’s so close to the Southern General.”
The new SEC will be built by Dawn Construction and managing director Ray Eve added: “As a Scottish contractor and investor in our communities we are delighted to join the team that will deliver this global-leading facility in epilepsy treatment to Scotland.
“Combining the most advanced assessment and diagnosis technology with world-leading neurologists, this centre will ensure that top specialist care will be available on our doorstep.”Funding for the new SEC has come from a number of sources including the NHS, Scottish Investment Fund, Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, The Turnberry Trust, UCB Pharma Ltd, Robert Barr’s Charitable Trust, RS MacDonald Charitable Trust, SPIFOX and Wooden Spoon.