Long-awaited guidance on the care of patients with multiple long-term conditions is set to be released next year, the head of NICE has revealed.
The new ‘multimorbidity’ guidelines have been in the pipeline for several years, but NICE expert advisors have admitted developing recommendations has been taking longer than expected because of difficulties extracting relevant advice from existing single-conditions guidelines.
Speaking today at the Pulse Live conference in London, NICE chair Professor David Haslam – a former GP – said the guidelines are now due out next year and that NICE ‘absolutely gets’ the difficulties GPs face trying to provide the best evidence-based care for their complex patients.
Professor Haslam said: ‘We absolutely get and understand the challenge of multimorbidity GPs face – after all there are more people with two or more conditions than there are with one long-term condition.
‘So our centre for clinical practice is currently working on guidelines for the assessment and management of multimorbidity, which will be coming out in 2016.’
Professor Haslam told Pulse the guidelines were provisionally slated for around September next year.
He said: ‘The guidelines will hopefully be published in September 2016 – which I know seems a long way off in the future, but it is an extraordinarily complicated area. Nonetheless, it is one which I see as critical for NICE to be able to help with because, fundamentally, every single GP and some secondary clinicians are already having to deal it with every day in the NHS.’
Professor Haslam said the guidelines will not attempt to cover the full range of multimorbidity, but to provide broad principles of patient-centred care with a particular emphasis on polypharmacy and how to stop unnecessary treatments.
He said: ‘It won’t be possible to take every single possible combination of conditions but it will include broad principles, particularly I hope focusing on the expectations of patients and what they want for their care, about managing multiple medications – the whole polypharmacy issue – and the evidence base for stopping treatments.’