The NICE Quality Standard for Lyme disease was published yesterday (10th July 2019).
The quality standard covers diagnosing and managing Lyme disease in people of all ages. It also includes raising public awareness about prevention.
It aims to work alongside the NICE Guideline for Lyme disease, helping to improve care of Lyme patients and increase understanding around the priority areas for quality improvement. It’s intended for use by commissioners, service providers, health and public health practitioners, as well as the general public.
Our former CEO, Veronica Hughes, was invited to be on the quality standard committee as a lay member, and helped to pass on the view and experiences of patients that had contacted Caudwell LymeCo, as part of the formation and consultation process.
The quality standard statements
The final four quality standard statements are based on identified areas for improvement when it comes to care of those with Lyme disease, and are as follows:
2. People with suspected Lyme disease without erythema migrans who have a negative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test carried out within 4 weeks of their symptoms starting have the test repeated 4 to 6 weeks later if Lyme disease is still suspected.
Click on each of the statements for further information.
How will these statements be used to improve care?
The quality standard is there to help healthcare professionals:
- identify gaps and areas for improvement
- measure the quality of care
- understand how to improve care
- demonstrate you provide quality care
- commission high-quality services.
Click on the links above for more information on how each of these actions will help improve care.
With regards to how these will work to improve care of those with Lyme disease, these standards are listed as those which all organisations and health professionals should try to achieve, and can give further patients impetus when speaking to their doctors about how their diagnosis and care should be approached.
So, where the Guideline lists recommendations about WHAT doctors and health professionals should do, the Quality Standard is about HOW, and the level to which they should be carrying out these recommendations.
Who is the quality standard supported by?
A number of organisations, including Caudwell LymeCo, recognise the benefit of this quality standard in improving care. They work with us to promote it to commissioners and service providers:
- Association of British Neurologists (ABN)
- Lyme Disease Action
- Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Medicine Society
- Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
Although we acknowledge that there is still further work to be done to educate health professionals in recognising and treating Lyme disease, and that the Guideline and quality standard is arguably most applicable to acute cases of Lyme disease; we hope these quality statements go some way towards improving diagnosis rates in early stages, preventing more people from becoming chronically ill.
For full information on the quality standard, visit the NICE website.