Letter Sent From The DOH To A Member Of TPA About Diagnosing Hypothyroidism
Department of Health
Dear Mrs *******
Thank you for the copy of your letter of 21st May to the General Nursing Council of England and Wales Trust about the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism that you have sent to the Department of Health. I have been asked to reply.
I was sorry to read about your problems with this condition and appreciate your concern that doctors should not rely too heavily on blood tests to determine if a patient has a thyroid condition. Blood tests are useful in helping diagnose hypothyroidism but should not be used in isolation and other factors must be taken into account such as the absence or presence of symptoms. This is why at present it is considered good medical practice to rely upon clinical history and examination, in addition to blood tests, in the diagnosis of this condition.
You may be interested to know that joint guidelines on the use of thyroid function tests are currently being prepared by the British Thyroid Association and the Association of Clinical Biochemists. The Department of Health awaits the publication of these guidelines.
You may also be interested to know that the National Service Framework (NSF) for Long-term Conditions was published in March 2005. Whilst the NSF is principally concerned with improving the standard and quality of services for people with neurological conditions, many elements are relevant to people with other long-term conditions, for example.
Providing information and support for individuals, and their carers;
Person-centred care and choice;
Care planning and integrated service involving different agencies;
Rehabilitation and support ion the community; and
Managing long-term conditions effectively when in hospital
The Government recognises that delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to unnecessary anxiety and shares your view that health professionals are trained so that they have the skills and knowledge to deliver a high quality health service to all groups of the population with whom they deal.
I hope that this reply is helpful.
(Signed) Kerry Murphy
Customer Service Centre
Department of Health