UK’s NICE consults on new hypertension draft quality standard


On 5 October, the UK’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) launched a consultation on its draft quality standard for the management of patients with hypertension.

The draft quality standard on hypertension describes measurable markers of high-quality, cost-effective care to drive improvements in the effectiveness, safety and experience of care for people with hypertension.

According to NICE, there are currently about 12 million people in the UK who have hypertension and more than half of those are over the age of 60 years. Around 5.7 million people have hypertension which is undiagnosed. As a consequence of commonplace, routine periodic screening for high blood pressure in the UK as part of the National Service Framework for cardiovascular disease prevention, the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with hypertension is one of the most common interventions in primary care, accounting for approximately 12% of primary care consultation episodes and approximately £1 billion in drug costs in 2006.

The draft quality standard on the management of hypertension has six statements to help improve care of people with hypertension. These include ensuring that people with resistant hypertension who have received four anti-hypertensive drugs and whose blood pressure remains uncontrolled are referred for specialist assessment. In addition the draft standard states that people with newly diagnosed hypertension and a 10 year cardiovascular disease risk of 20% or higher are offered statin therapy.

The draft quality standard is now available on the NICE website for consultation, which allows stakeholders to comment and help identify which statements are most important to support service improvement.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of Health and Social Care at NICE said: “The NICE clinical guideline on hypertension published last year made a number of important recommendations that are changing the way blood pressure is diagnosed for the first time in more than a century, affecting the treatment of millions of people. This new draft quality standard provides measurable markers that will drive further improvements in the management of hypertension, ensuring that it is diagnosed accurately, that treatments are provided and their adherence and efficacy monitored appropriately, and referral to specialists made when necessary.”

This draft quality standard has been issued for consultation; NICE has not yet published the final quality standard to the NHS.

All eligible comments will be reviewed by the independent Topic Expert Group and the standard may be refined in light of this information. The deadline for stakeholder comments is Friday 2 November. The final quality standard for hypertension is expected to be published in March 2013.

For more information on the hypertension draft quality standard click here.