• Clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of three alternative compression systems used in the management of venous leg ulcers

      Guest, J.F.; Gerrish, A.; Ayoub, N.; Vowden, Kath; Vowden, Peter (2015)
      OBJECTIVE: To assess clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of using a two-layer cohesive compression bandage (TLCCB; Coban 2) compared with a two-layer compression system (TLCS; Ktwo) and a four-layer compression system (FLCS; Profore) in treating venous leg ulcers (VLUs) in clinical practice in the UK, from the perspective of the National Health Service (NHS). METHOD: This was a retrospective analysis of the case records of VLU patients, randomly extracted from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database (a nationally representative database of clinical practice among patients registered with general practitioners in the UK), who were treated with either TLCCB (n=250), TLCS (n=250) or FLCS (n=175). Clinical outcomes and health-care resource use (and costs) over six months after starting treatment with each compression system were estimated. Differences in outcomes and resource use between treatments were adjusted for differences in baseline covariates. RESULTS: Patients' mean age was 75 years old and 57% were female. The mean time with a VLU was 6-7 months and the mean initial wound size was 77-85 cm2. The overall VLU healing rate, irrespective of bandage type, was 44% over the six months' study period. In the TLCCB group, 51% of wounds had healed by six months compared with 40% (p=0.03) and 28% (p=0.001) in the TLCS and FLCS groups, respectively. The mean time to healing was 2.5 months. Patients in the TLCCB group experienced better health-related quality of life (HRQoL) over six months (0.374 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) per patient), compared with the TLCS (0.368 QALYs per patient) and FLCS (0.353 QALYs per patient). The mean six-monthly NHS management cost was pound2,413, pound2,707 and pound2,648 per patient in the TLCCB, TLCS and FLCS groups, respectively. CONCLUSION: Despite the systems studied reporting similar compression levels when tested in controlled studies, real-world evidence demonstrates that initiating treatment with TLCCB, compared with the other two compression systems, affords a more cost-effective use of NHS-funded resources in clinical practice, since it resulted in an increased healing rate, better HRQoL and a reduction in NHS management cost. The evidence also highlighted the lack of continuity between clinicians managing a wound, the inconsistent nature of the administered treatments and the lack of specialist involvement, all of which may impact on healing. DECLARATION OF INTEREST: This study was supported by an unrestricted research grant from 3M Health Care, UK. 3M Health Care had no influence on the study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, or on the writing of, and decision to submit for publication, the manuscript.
    • The end of the road? CPD in the NHS

      McIntosh, Bryan; Hart, Andrew (2016-12-06)
      This article considers how cuts in Government funding will affect continuing professional development and mentorship training for NHS staff
    • Strategies for assessing renal function prior to outpatient contrast-enhanced CT: a UK survey

      Harris, Martine A.; Snaith, Beverly; Clarke, R. (2016)
      The purpose of this paper is to identify current UK screening practices prior to contrast-enhanced CT. To determine the patient management strategies to minimize the risk of contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) risk in outpatients. An invitation to complete an electronic survey was distributed to the CT managers of 174 UK adult National Health Service hospital trusts. The survey included questions related to local protocols and national guidance on which these are based. Details of the assessment of renal function prior to imaging and thresholds for contrast contraindication and patient management were also sought. A response rate of 47.1% was received. Almost all sites had a policy in place for contrast administration (n = 80/82; 97.6%). The majority of sites require a blood test on outpatients undergoing a contrast-enhanced CT scan (n = 75/82; 91.5%); however, some (15/75; 20.0%) sites only check the result in patients at high risk and a small number (7/82; 8.5%) of sites indicated that it was a referrer responsibility. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) or serum creatinine (SCr) result threshold at which i.v. contrast was contraindicated varied and 19 different threshold levels of eGFR or SCr were identified, each leading to different prophylactic strategies. Inconsistency was noted in the provision of follow-up blood tests after contrast administration. The wide variation in practice reflects inconsistencies in published guidance. Evidence-based consensuses of which patients to test and subsequent risk thresholds will aid clinicians identify those patients in which the risk of CI-AKI is clinically significant but manageable. There is also a need to determine the value of the various prophylactic strategies, follow-up regimen and efficient service delivery pathways. This survey has identified that further work is required to define which patients are high risk, confirm those which require renal function testing prior to contrast administration and how best to manage patients at risk of CI-AKI. The role of new technologies within this service delivery pathway requires further investigation.
    • The use of biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and ethnomedicine for the treatment of epilepsy among people of South Asian origin in the UK

      Rhodes, P.J.; Small, Neil A.; Wright, J.; Ismail, Hanif (2008)
      Studies have shown that a significant proportion of people with epilepsy use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM use is known to vary between different ethnic groups and cultural contexts; however, little attention has been devoted to inter-ethnic differences within the UK population. We studied the use of biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and ethnomedicine in a sample of people with epilepsy of South Asian origin living in the north of England. Interviews were conducted with 30 people of South Asian origin and 16 carers drawn from a sampling frame of patients over 18 years old with epilepsy, compiled from epilepsy registers and hospital databases. All interviews were tape-recorded, translated if required and transcribed. A framework approach was adopted to analyse the data. All those interviewed were taking conventional anti-epileptic drugs. Most had also sought help from traditional South Asian practitioners, but only two people had tried conventional CAM. Decisions to consult a traditional healer were taken by families rather than by individuals with epilepsy. Those who made the decision to consult a traditional healer were usually older family members and their motivations and perceptions of safety and efficacy often differed from those of the recipients of the treatment. No-one had discussed the use of traditional therapies with their doctor. The patterns observed in the UK mirrored those reported among people with epilepsy in India and Pakistan. The health care-seeking behaviour of study participants, although mainly confined within the ethnomedicine sector, shared much in common with that of people who use global CAM. The appeal of traditional therapies lay in their religious and moral legitimacy within the South Asian community, especially to the older generation who were disproportionately influential in the determination of treatment choices. As a second generation made up of people of Pakistani origin born in the UK reach the age when they are the influential decision makers in their families, resort to traditional therapies may decline. People had long experience of navigating plural systems of health care and avoided potential conflict by maintaining strict separation between different sectors. Health care practitioners need to approach these issues with sensitivity and to regard traditional healers as potential allies, rather than competitors or quacks.