Well done NICE. With its just-published long Covid guidance, it has clearly taken on board previous criticism that its guidelines are crazily unrealistic and overly prescriptive. So now we have the opposite problem. This latest guidance is so woolly that I intend to recycle it as a Christmas jumper.
If you do fancy a seasonal flurry of fluff, though, here, from the pages of NG188 itself, are some NICE tips on managing long Covid. Use ‘clinical assessment’ and ‘support access to assessment and care’. Use a ‘holistic, person-centred approach’. Include a ‘comprehensive clinical history and appropriate examination’. ‘Listen to their concerns with empathy’. ‘Offer tests and investigations’ (tests and investigations?!). ‘Consider referring people to an integrated multidisciplinary assessment service if available’ (tip from me: if not available, don’t). ‘Agree with the person how often follow-up and monitoring are needed’.
And so it goes on, this litany of the non-specific and the bleedin’ obvious, until you’re struck with the inevitable conclusion that what they’re actually trying to say is, look, just carry on being a GP with these patients, would you, we have nothing further to add?
Which is fine, except for the opportunity cost. You have quite possibly noticed that we are currently suffering a plandemic, with guidance, SOPs, diktats, protocols, webinars, bulletins, updates et al arriving faster than we can keep up.
It’s utterly addling. For example, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that setting up a Covid vaccination centre involves 5,000 separate things coming together. The point is, I can’t remember whether I really did read this, or I dreamt it, because when I’m not reading all this stuff, I’m asleep, dreaming that I’m reading all this stuff. And if I’m distracted ploughing through vacuous nonsense like the latest NICE guidance, there’s a danger I’ll overlook something more important, like a document reminding me which end of the Covid vaccine to stick in people.
So look, NICE, I understand the pressure to be seen to be doing something. But when we really need signal rather than noise, it would probably be best, if you have nothing to say, to say nothing. Covid has already been long enough without this.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield