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GPs following NICE LUTS guidance

8041199-article-LUTSNearly half of GPs are following NICE advice on the management of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men, one year on from the launch of the guideline, a survey has found.

Around 1 in 4 men aged 40 and over will experience symptoms, such as needing to urinate urgently or frequently, retention of urine, hesitancy and incontinence.

Prior to the NICE guideline, there was no national guidance for diagnosing and treating these symptoms in men, which meant that GPs were not always using the most effective treatments.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Health on behalf of GSK and involving 201 GPs, found that of the 46 per cent of GPs who were following the NICE guideline, 41 per cent said that they had greater confidence in conducting the necessary diagnostic tests, such as a digital rectal examination.

As a result their confidence in knowing when to refer to secondary care had significantly improved.

Of those GPs who said they were implementing the guideline, 80 per cent reported that they have seen a reduction in referral costs.

GPs who were not following the guideline reported being unsure about when to refer to a specialist, which could lead to unnecessary and costly hospital referrals.

To help boost uptake of this guideline, NICE has produced a series of implementation tools, such as an interactive case history described by a number of GPs as “a very helpful learning tool that is concise and informative.”

Other support tools include an online education tool produced in collaboration with the British Medical Journal (BMJ), audit support, and a costing template and report to help GPs calculate the potential financial savings of putting the guideline into practice.

NICE has also produced a LUTS commissioning guide which makes the case for commissioning a service for the management of LUTS in men, specifies service requirements, and helps to determine local service levels.

Dr John Rees, a GP with a special interest in urology who was involved in the development of the NICE guideline, said: “The guideline aims to reassure GPs that the majority of men with LUTS can be safely assessed and treated in the community and without the need for costly hospital referrals.

“These results show the importance of continuing to raise awareness and drive uptake of the guideline to ensure optimal patient care at a time when NHS resources are stretched and there are increasing pressures for savings to be made.”

13 June 2011

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.