NICE Quality Standard for Lyme disease

The NICE quality standard for Lyme disease was published in July 2019.

It covers diagnosing and managing Lyme disease in people of all ages, and also includes points on 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.

It consists of four quality statements that have been identified as areas for improvement of care.

Caudwell LymeCo contributed to the forming of these statements, with a staff member of the charity sitting on the committee, offering information and experiences from patients, and from the surveys we’ve carried out.

The quality standard is endorsed by NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care as required by the Health and Social Care Act (2012), along with other organisations such as Lyme Disease Action and the Royal College of Physicians.

The statements are:

1. People presenting with erythema migrans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease based on clinical assessment, without laboratory testing.

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.

3. People with Lyme disease have initial antibiotic treatment, with the antibiotic, dosage and duration determined by their symptoms.

4. Local authorities organise health promotion activities with organisations in their area to raise public awareness about how to prevent Lyme disease.

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.

Full information on the quality standard can be found on the NICE website.