Jean is wearing a purple ribbon today to mark international ‘Purple Day’ for epilepsy awareness. Epilepsy Scotland supporters across the country are also wearing purple and organising fun purple-themed events in schools and workplaces, and landmarks like McCaig’s Tower in Oban, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and even the sheep at the Pyramid Business Park on the M8 are turning purple for the day.
This Purple Day, Epilepsy Scotland are urging Scots to “Think Drink, Think Drugs, Think Seizure” – to be aware that people who look as if they are drunk or on drugs may in fact be having an epileptic seizure. The charity has produced a simple guide on providing first aid for a seizure.
“I’m supporting Purple Day because epilepsy is such a common condition yet many of us still know little about it. Hundreds of Highlanders and Islander, including over 200 children in the NHS Highland area alone, have epilepsy.
“Purple Day is a great way to get people talking about epilepsy, which is essential because just a little knowledge about the condition could save a life. As with so many medical conditions, there’s also a social stigma – even a fear – that needs to be broken down through greater public understanding.
“Please take a moment go to the Epilepsy Scotland website and learn how to recognise and respond to a seizure. It will take just a couple of minutes but it could turn you into a lifesaver.”
Last week I took part in a photocall organised by Epilepsy Scotland to mark National Epilepsy Week. As a member of the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy, I’m becoming more and more aware of the issues affecting Scots with epilepsy and the great work being done by so many in helping to research and raise awareness of the condition. It was great to see so many fellow MSPs take part and to touch base again with Epilepsy Scotland, who are a credit to their cause.
Jean Urquhart MSP, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy, has highlighted Epilepsy Scotland’s call to discover the Top Employer of the Year and encouraged businesses and organisations in the Highlands and Islands to enter.
Jean Urquhart, an Independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands, remarked: “I’m happy to join the search for the country’s most supportive employers. They already go that extra mile to help an employee with epilepsy develop their skills and contribute fully to the organisation. Any workplace, small or large, can enter and the winning employer might be right here in the Highlands and Islands.”
Epilepsy Scotland’s chief executive, Lesslie Young explained: “One person in 97 has epilepsy. Many will have good seizure control and epilepsy will not impact on their working life. But some may need additional support. So our award, which is unique in the UK, recognises employers who are leaders for their assistance. Often they don’t think they are doing anything special – but they are! We want to highlight their standards as an example for others to follow.”
Organisations can also apply for a best practice certificate. Every workplace following the Equality Act guidelines is eligible. Displaying this best practice certificate in the workplace shows everyone that employees with epilepsy are as valued as any other worker. Both employers and employees can nominate their workplace for a best practice certificate anytime and the Employer award by 26 March 2013.
Notes to editor
The Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy has the largest MSP membership. The purpose of this Cross-Party Group is to address the needs of 54,000 people with epilepsy in Scotland. The Group brings together those interested in epilepsy issues and provides MSPs with information and access to expert opinion.
Epilepsy Scotland works with people affected by epilepsy to ensure their voice is heard. We campaign for improved healthcare, better information provision and an end to stigma. We represent one in 97 people with this common neurological condition – that’s nearly 54,000 people – as well as their families and carers. Our freephone Helpline 0808 800 2200 offers information on epilepsy matters including employment issues as does our website: www.epilepsyscotland.org.uk The Employer of the Year award and best practice certificate can be downloaded or completed online.
There are two Employer of the Year categories; one for organisations which employ up to 50 people and one for those with more than 50 employees. The closing date for award entries is 26 March 2013. It coincides with International Purple Day – a fun day for raising awareness of epilepsy. The awards will be presented by Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil MSP on 25 April 2013. The Employer of the Year winners will attend the ceremony before a mainly corporate audience attending Epilepsy Scotland’s Glasgow Wag of Wags gala dinner.
This is the fifth Employer of the Year award for epilepsy. Previous award winners include Harry Gow Bakery (Inverness), DARE hair salon (Aberdeen), Fife Constabulary, CMM Architects (Glasgow), Russell Hamilton Business Systems (Glasgow) and the Scottish Parliament.
For more award details contact: Allana Parker, Public Affairs Officer Direct line: 0141 419 1701. Mobile 07884 012 147