GPs should ensure the psychological and social wellbeing of patients with psoriasis, in addition to managing their skin disease, new NICE guidance has recommended
NICE said the guideline – published this month – would ensure that the mental health of patients with psoriasis was not ‘overlooked’.
The advisory body recommends new checks for anxiety and depression in patients with psoriasis, and an assessment of how the condition is affecting the patient’s participation in social and physical activities, employment and education.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said: ‘Clinical practice for the treatment of psoriasis is variable across the NHS. This guideline provides clear advice for the NHS on the assessment and management of psoriasis in order to improve comfort and minimise the effects of living with the condition.’
Dr Stephen Hayes, GPSI in dermatology in Bitterne, Southampton, welcomed measures to improve care for psoriasis patients as the condition is ‘underestimated and undertreated’.
He said: ‘It’s a rotten, lifelong incurable disease which makes people depressed and limits their life opportunities and is given a very low priority in the NHS.
‘Why isn’t its treatment given more priority under QOF as compared with, for example, asthma and diabetes? How do folks think psoriatics feel looking at the “because I’m worth it” perfect skin TV ads every night?’
‘Anything that improves care for these forgotten patients will meet with my approval, but it needs to be done thoughtfully and we really should hear from the patients.’