TITLE

Do we need lipid clinics? Shifting the balance between secondary and primary care

AUTHOR(S)
Stuart, W; Smellie, A
PUB. DATE
November 2005
SOURCE
Annals of Clinical Biochemistry;Nov2005, Vol. 42 Issue 6, p463
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background: Increasing activity in cholesterol lowering is placing increasing demands on lipid clinics to be able to cope with the increase in demand. A combination of interventions has been used to improve laboratory testing, focus interpretative results and provide educational and advisory facilities for general practitioners in order to increase shared care of many potential clinic patients. Methods: Retrospective study of clinic waiting times, results in patients managed on a shared care basis, and overall clinical activity over a three-and-a-half-year intervention period between March 2001 and August 2004 in a single-consultant, single-centre secondary care clinic serving three primary care trusts, covering a population of approximately 270,000 people. The interventions involved a change to the laboratory request form, outreach educational meetings and promotion of use of 'written advice only' for certain patients as an alternative to direct clinic referral. The main outcome measures were percentages of patients followed up in primary care, change in cholesterol and triglyceride results after advice, and clinic waiting time. Results: A total of 520 patients were referred over three and a half years, either to be seen or for written advice only. About 291 of these were handled by advisory letters. In all, 90% of these patients were already receiving or had received lipid-lowering therapy at the time of referral. 98% of patients were followed up by their general practice post-advice. Cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations fell by 23% and 39%, respectively, post-advice. Waiting times fell from a peak of 35 weeks before the interventions to an average of three weeks after. This fall has been maintained over the three-and-a-half years the intervention has run. Conclusions: The interventions have resulted in a large fall in clinic waiting times, improvement in lipid results, and high rate of general practice follow-up, all of which have been sustained in the long term.
ACCESSION #
22630946

 

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