Lyme Disease: Health Services

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 15 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox Ceidwadwyr, Torridge and West Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to (a) promote better awareness within the NHS of the symptoms of Lyme disease and (b) speed up (i) testing and (ii) analysis of test results for Lyme disease.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) are specifically aimed at general practices (GPs), and cover the availability of testing services. The entomology group in the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) also has a tick awareness scheme, which sends out information on avoiding tick bites in a spring campaign, and supports local authorities in areas with a high prevalence of Lyme disease. Further information on Lyme disease, access to testing, and the NICE’s CKS’ is available respectively at the links below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/lyme-disease-guidance-data-and-analysis

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng95

https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/lyme-disease/management/management/

All confirmatory testing in England is performed by the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL). Delays may occur in the referring laboratory when submitting the sample, during testing at the RIPL, or when accessing the results, which are sent back electronically, before being passed onto GPs. Only the RIPL is within the UKHSA’s control, and the RIPL is planning to introduce new technology to speed up tests for neuroborreliosis.

National data analysis is released through the Fingertips system, which is regularly updated. The annual number of cases of Lyme disease varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions in the Lyme season, the effects of weather and human activities on animals that harbor the disease, and the tick population. Further information on the Fingertips system is available at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/health-protection/data

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