NICE has now published Quality Standards for Lyme disease. The aim is to highlight priority areas of the NICE guideline in order to improve care.
The 4 areas being emphasised are:
- The EM rash should be treated without waiting for a blood test.
- Those who have a negative test early on in infection, should be tested a second time if the first test is negative and Lyme disease still suspected.
- Treatment should be according to the NICE guideline – the right antibiotic, dosage and length of treatment.
- Local authorities should raise public awareness in their area.
These 4 Quality Standards are a set of concise statements designed to drive measurable quality improvements in care. They will be drawn to the attention of GP surgeries, community pharmacies, A&E and out-of-hours services to help ensure that proper care is provided. Links to images of the EM rash and to the RCGP toolkit and RCGP e-learning course are embedded in the standard and this will also help raise awareness amongst health professionals.
Of course there are other points which are important, but this will help get the undeniable basics right: absolutely no one can argue about these.
Healthcare providers are encouraged to assess their current practice against these Quality Standards, develop action plans and to monitor quality improvement. If nothing else, this will be a boost to awareness about Lyme disease amongst health professionals, hospitals and commissioners. It is hoped that those who provide care will now check the NICE guideline and note the higher doses of antibiotics and the longer treatment.