Fort William GP develops guidelines for faster diagnoses of Lyme disease
A FORT WILLIAM medic has developed guidelines to help fellow health professionals diagnose and treat Lyme disease faster.
Dr James Douglas led a campaign to capture incidences of tick bites across Lochaber alongside colleagues from primary care and out- of-hours services, as well as the Belford Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
The general practitioner, who works at Tweedale Medical Practice, said the information will be useful across Scotland.
He explained: ‘The data capture study in Lochaber is aiming to give us a much more accurate rate in one area.
‘The information will be useful in Scotland and the rest of the UK for planning the NHS response to Lyme disease.’
He added: ‘This is a great example of colleagues in primary and secondary care working together on a project of mutual concern, and of the new GP clusters working on a subject of huge public interest here in Lochaber.
‘The guidelines will not only inform colleagues of how to promptly diagnose a tick bite and Lyme disease, but improve coding information for admissions to hospital and prevention advice.
‘ We are also working closely with Health Protection Scotland on public information and the Forestry Commission on occupational information, including a video with case studies to highlight why prevention of Lyme disease is so important.’
Dr Douglas has long campaigned for greater awareness of Lyme disease and last year he produced a video to demonstrate how to remove a tick safely using a special plastic tick removal device.
The GP said he would encourage everyone to continue to use the great outdoors but take precautions.