NICE to develop multimorbidity guidelines for GPs

NICE will for the first time develop guidelines to help GPs manage patients with multiple conditions, the institute's chairman has said.

Sir Michael: ‘We need to start developing methods that will allow us to provide advice in our guidelines on our management of comorbidities'
Sir Michael: ‘We need to start developing methods that will allow us to provide advice in our guidelines on our management of comorbidities'

Speaking at the NICE’s annual conference in Birmingham on Tuesday, Sir Michael Rawlins said incorporating multimorbidity into NICE’s guidance was one of his six hopes for the institute in his last year as chairman.

He said he wanted to see NICE guidance ‘incorporate multiple morbidities or co-morbidities and move beyond giving advice on single conditions’.

Sir Michael said that although he was ‘very proud of NICE's clinical guidance’, ‘there is a problem associated with them that we can’t ignore’.

‘Our guidelines, like virtually all others, are concerned with the management of single conditions, yet many patients have more than one condition simultaneously,’ he said.

Sir Michael cited research published last week found showing that multimorbidity affects 65% of patients aged above 65 years and 23% of all patients.

‘We need to start developing methods that will allow us to provide advice in our guidelines on our management of comorbidities, particularly for chronic conditions,’ he said.

‘It won’t be easy, but that mustn’t deter us. The evidence base will be imperfect and there will be a limit to the number of comorbidities that a particular guideline can incorporate.’

Sir Michael said the guidance would be aimed at GPs and that NICE would first produce an overarching guideline on dealing with multimorbidity, before looking at groups of diseases that commonly co-occur.

  • GP senior clinical reporter Stephen Robinson is tweeting from the NICE conference on Wednesday. Follow him @SH_Robinson, using #GPnews and #nice2012

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