Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP, Rhoda Grant is relaunching her 2015 campaign to encourage people with epilepsy in the Highlands and Islands to put ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact details on their mobile phones. 

Then, if they have a seizure outdoors the emergency services, or even a member of the public, can get in touch with the named family member, or friend, for medical details and thereafter tailored treatment is given.

To further assist emergency personnel, Rhoda Grant also developed a pilot initiative just over a year ago offering free ICEberg (In Case of Emergency be empowered, ring a guardian) wristbands to anyone with epilepsy.

These purple and white silicon wrist bands, identify that the wearer has an ICE contact on their mobile device.  Rhoda Grant launched the scheme with Epilepsy Scotland at their information stand at the initial launch in the Eastgate Centre, Inverness.

Speaking about the importance of this renewed initiative as we approach 2017, Rhoda Grant MSP said: “In my role as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands, I became aware of situations where people were found either unwell or in a distressed state in public.  The attending emergency service personnel had difficulty in identifying who to contact as next of kin. 

"I was also aware of individuals who ended up in A&E with staff there being unable to identify the individual who was brought in. This got me thinking that there must be something we can do to address this issue.

“I talked with Epilepsy Scotland about trialling some kind of free epilepsy ID to help in medical situations.  My team made contact with Stagecoach Bus and were successful in being awarded funding by this company which allowed us to purchase the ICEberg epilepsy wristbands.  Wearers can put ICE (In Case of Emergency) details into their mobile phone contacts or they may already have an ICE app on their mobile phone screen saver. Should a seizure happen, emergency personnel, or indeed a member of the public will know who to call by checking the ICE contact or app. Since the initial launch we have been surprised by the number of people taking up the offer of the free wrist bands.” 

Epilepsy Scotland’s Chief Executive Lesslie Young remarked: “Much like an iceberg, epilepsy and how it affects the person tends to stay hidden unless or until a seizure.  There are over 800 people living with epilepsy in Inverness alone.  However, more than a third of them continue to have seizures even with medication, so relaunching these ICEberg bands may be of great help to them.  Hundreds of others across the Highlands and Islands could also benefit.  

“Our Facebook followers welcome the idea of free wristbands for people with epilepsy because of the reassurance it offers to their families, friends and colleagues.  If an emergency arises, those dealing with the situation will realise the person has epilepsy because of this wristband.  The ICE details can then be used to contact the person’s family quickly.”

The founder of the ICE initiative and former paramedic, Bob Brotchie said: “Imagine ringing the police because a relative or friend has not returned home.  Imagine ringing the hospitals and they don’t have anyone with that person’s name, but they may have unidentified patients.  Now, imagine what it’s like to be a paramedic, desperately trying to find the next of kin of someone having an epileptic seizure.  This worry can be avoided by a simple action. 

"Put ICE details with the person’s name and number on your mobile phone or use an ICE app to list who you’d like to be contacted in the case of an emergency.  Having notified your ICE contact and gathered information, the medical team can then treat you appropriately.”

Russell Henderson of Stagecoach Bus (Highland) which funded the wristbands last year added: “We are delighted to support community initiatives where they can and do make a positive difference to those living, working and visiting our communities.  We wish all those connected to the ICEberg initiative well with their efforts.”

As we are now in the middle of the festive period, Rhoda Grant said “This is the time of year, probably more than any other, when lots of people are out and about celebrating.   Anyone whose epilepsy is not well controlled really should consider wearing the ICEberg wrist band.  It will allow responders to ascertain the next of kin and very quickly get more details from them about the wearer’s condition.”

The purple and white marble effect silicon ICEberg wrist bands can be sourced free of charge from the office of Rhoda Grant MSP, 3 Gordon Terrace, Inverness, IV2 3HD, 01463 716299, from the Sapphire Nurses (Epilepsy) at Room 43, Main Corridor, Rowans, New Craigs Hospital, 6-16 Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NP or from Epilepsy Scotland’s exhibition stand