Giant Cell Arteritis

Department of Health written question – answered on 6th March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the costs to the National Health Service of failures to diagnose giant cell arteritis sufficiently early to prevent loss of vision for those afflicted, in each of the last five years.

Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of people afflicted by giant cell arteritis who have lost vision as a result of a failure to diagnose the illness sufficiently early, in each of the last five years.

Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the pilot clinical pathway in Southend to develop faster and more effective diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence Clinical Knowledge Summary on Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) sets out that the annual incidence of GCA in the United Kingdom is approximately 20 per 100,000 people, with total or partial vision loss affecting up to 20% of people. Numbers of patients diagnosed as suffering from GCA related sight loss in each of the last five years and its associated costs are not available.

No specific assessment has been made of the GCA clinical pathway used in Southend. However, the Government understands that Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta who developed the Southend clinical pathway, contributed to development of the Royal College of Physicians’ guideline on GCA, published in 2010. The guideline sets out best practice for clinicians in the prompt diagnosis and urgent management of GCA, helping to minimise GCA related vision loss.

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