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I was diagnosed with Epilepsy aged 12 having suffer regular seizures both Grand Mal/ Tonic Clonic and abscent seizures. I was medicated with the medication Epilim (Sodium Valproate) 
The advice given to me by my Neurologist, was always to take my medication as this would help control my seizures, so trusting the experts always done so. When I first got pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I decided to have my ante-natel care at my local hospital as that was also where my Neurologist was based. Throughout all my pregnancies my medical team were aware I was on Epilim, and the advice my husband and I was given, was to carry on taking my medication and to increase my dosage of Folic Acid.

The children were all born, over a period of 5 years however with them all they always seemed to be ill, were never reaching milestones, had delayed speech etc.

Laurens 1st bath - weighing3lb

Laurens 1st bath – weighing3lb

I was convinced something wasn’t right. It didn’t seem right that all my babies were showing signs of illness, delayed milestones etc. When I was pregnant with my 1st daughter my mum passed away very suddenly aged 42. I was devastated by this and was very quickly diagnosed with depression. Having lost my mum the GPs, Health Visitors etc thought I was being paranoid, over protective mum when I would voice my concerns over the kids. I was always being reassured the children were fine and they would catch up.

My family x x x x

My family x x x x

One day I saw on the news a lady talking about the dangers of Epilim in Pregnancy, how whilst pregnant it could affect the baby, which could result in the baby having a condition called FACS (Fetal Anti Convulsant Syndrome) I was speechless watching this. I knew there and then, the children had this condition. It was as if a light had been switched on, everything the lady was saying was exactly what I had been saying for years. I rang the news immediately and was put in touch with Janet Williams. To cut a very long story short after months of tests, Drs appointments my children were diagnosed with FACS SYNDROME – the medicine I was prescribed HAD affected my babies. As well as the diagnosis of FACS, my children also went onto obtain diagnosis of ;


• Facial Dysmorphic Features
• Cerebral Palsy
• Incontinence
• Valgus Foot
• Hypermobility
• Speech & Language Delay
• Autisic behaviour/Dyspraxia
• Athsma
• Noise Intolerance
• Deafness and more

In November 2013, along with Janet Williams I Co-Founded FACSA – a parent/family support group for families affected by Epilim and other Anti Convulsant medicines. At the same time we also started campaigning in Government and have since been named as Government Campaign Group for Epilim (IN-FACT)

Published in Resources
Monday, 08 February 2016 10:59

Salim Razak

Hi, my name is Salim and I work as a Consultant Psychiatrist in a Community Team for people with learning disabilities. I have lots of experience in supporting people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum conditions and other neurodevelopmental conditions such as Aspergers syndrome and ADHD. Some of the people who I support have issues with their mental health, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia etc, some may have issues with their physical health such as epilepsy and some people may have behaviour that others find to challenging to support them with. Some of the people that I work with have spent time in hospital and some people may have been arrested or had to go to Court. As well as giving advice around health, my work also involves giving medicolegal advice to Courts or to hospitals around the use of the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLs).
Sadly, it is still the case that people with learning disabilities continue to experience inequalities in health and a disproportionate number of people are detained in mental health units. I am a passionate advocate for peoples health and rights and believe that we must all challenge these injustices.
Published in Biographies
Monday, 18 January 2016 15:29

What to do when you are depressed Blog with help and advice if you are suffering from depression - also includes how to help someone with depression 

Published in Resources

Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice states that:
 14.85 "When a patient’s carer informs the commissioner of difficulties in visiting the patient because of the distance that they need to travel, the commissioner should consider whether they can provide any assistance to support the patient’s carer to visit and maintain contact with the patient. The commissioner should inform the carer that they can request a carer’s assessment from the local authority. CCGs should work with the relevant NHS Commissioning Board regional team under these circumstances to seek to move the patient closer to their preferred location."

Published in Resources
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 17:29

Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is the corner-stone of policing: it is the law that governs important state invasions into our civil liberties through stop and search; search and seizure; and arrest and detention without charge. It can seem overwhelmingly complex stuff and I admit that as a PC, I was often confused as to what was going on some of the time!

I remember as a probationary constable watching a group of sergeants scrumming down with a copy of PACE to work out what on earth was going on with a prisoner who had been arrested in another force area and then transferred to the West Midlands. This was all before we had IT to do half the work for you and when calculating legal detention timescales could get very complicated indeed, even to those familiar with PACE!

So here is a series of BLOG posts, not covering the extreme complexities but the various common topics that I hope amounts to a brief but reasonable understanding of what is going on in police custody, for those of you who need to understand it just a little better. It was motivated by a request from an AMHP who found it confusing to consider how PACE affects the MHA assessments and decisions that she was obviously familiar with – I hope this hits the mark Aisling!


Published in Resources