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3 April 2017

posted Apr 3, 2017, 3:10 AM by Beck Lockwood   [ updated Apr 3, 2017, 3:26 AM ]
Faecal Calprotectin project wins Medipex Award

A testing process that enables GPs to make better referral decisions when diagnosing bowel conditions, has been recognised with a Medipex Service Improvement Award.

Non-inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome can be treated in the GP surgery, while conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease require the patient to be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment.

Dr James Turvil, a consultant gastroenterologist at York Teaching Hospital, optimised a pathway that enables GPs to test the levels of a biochemical called faecal calprotectin. This enables GPs to assess patients in the surgery, reducing the number requiring referral to hospital for further tests and treatment.

Although NICE guidance for the use of faecal calprotectin has been available for some time, uptake has been limited and there has been no agreement about the thresholds above which a referral becomes necessary.

NIHR DEC Leeds worked with Dr James Turvil, who had conducted a pilot study into the use of faecal calprotectin testing in GPs surgeries. Dr Turvill carried out research to evaluate the different thresholds for calprotectin, and to assess its effectiveness in supporting primary care diagnosis.

Through NIHR DEC Leeds, Dr Turvill was able to set up a partnership with the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (Y&H AHSN) Diagnostic Advisory Group to encourage uptake of calprotectin testing locally. This included producing an implementation plan and working with clinical commissioning groups to identify four ‘early adopter’ sites to lead the way.

The Medipex Award will help increase the profile of the process, which has now been adopted by four CCGs, with a further six due to come on board soon.

“For some time I had seen the potential benefits of incorporating a care pathway with faecal calprotectin usage to support decision making by GPs in primary care, but I was unable to take this forward,” explains Dr Turvill. “I was then fortunate enough to meet with Dr Mike Messenger at the NIHR DEC Leeds. From this key contact I was able to structure a route map by which to navigate the challenges of research based implementation. Furthermore, I was introduced to the Y&H AHSN. Here I was supported in a 'scaling up' programme that has delivered all of the change we had been hoping for 

“More recently, because of this, I have been working with NHS England to explore an implementation beyond our region.”​