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NICE publishes first guideline for coeliac disease

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Coeliac disease care can be varied Charities hope that the standard will align coeliac care to the same level

NICE has published it's first quality standard on how to care for people with coeliac disease.

The quality standard includes five statements that highlight when people should be tested for the condition and how they should be treated if they receive a confirmed diagnosis.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE said: 'If coeliac disease goes undiagnosed people not only have a poor quality of life they may go on to suffer other serious complications such as osteoporosis or cancer. Our quality standard calls for wider use of blood tests for anyone who shows symptoms or those that are at increased risk as soon as possible to rule out the condition.'

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, welcomed the standard but highlighted that care often varies from one CCG to another. 'As NICE quality standards are developed in line with clinical evidence and expert consensus, it is clear that the decision by some CCGs to remove vital frontline services, is being based on budget rather than patient need or clinical evidence.'

Ms Sleet says that the charity will shortly be writing to CCGs in England to highlight the new quality standard and 'hope that they will be taking all the suggested prioritised statements on board when caring for those with coeliac disease'.

The condition is estimated to affect around 530,000 people in England. However it is often underdiagnosed and follow-up care for people who are diagnosed varies widely in the UK.

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