Near Patient Testing System
The practice runs a system so that patients on certain medications which require close monitoring can have their blood tests done at the GP surgery rather than having to go up to the hospital as used to be the case in the past. This is called the Near Patient Testing system as the tests are done near the patient.
Who is this for?
Conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease along with others fall into a category we call an auto-immune disorder. In essence this is where the body's own immune system inappropriately reacts against itself. Certain types of medication can prevent the immune system from doing this and protects you from the harmful or unpleasant consequences of these conditions. While very effective these medications do have the potential to do harm in a small number of people. To reduce the chance of this we monitor patients on these medications more closely. In our practice we call this the Near Patient Testing system (NPT for short).
What drugs are covered?
The hospital team and GP practice have something called a shared care guideline for the medications below. This lets everybody know who is responsible for what part of the monitoring the medication and who to speak to if there is a problem. These are written for Doctors but links to the guidelines are available online should you wish to have a look (click on SCA below). We have also put a link to some more useful patient information for each drug (click on PATIENT INFO below).
There is also a category of drugs called anti-TNF injections. At present the hospital will usually make arrangements to monitor patients on these drugs.
How does the system work?
When the hospital team advise starting one of these medications they will provide you with information about the treatment including how to take it, side effects etc. You should also get some written information to take home with you (if not please have a look at the Patient info links above).
Your GP will then get a letter from the hospital confirming the details of the medication to be started and they will ask you to come in to the surgery to discuss this further and to issue a prescription. They will discuss how often you will need your blood tests checked and what to do if you have any problems.
The GP will let the admin team at the surgery know what the plan is for your treatment. The admin team will check to make sure you are coming in for blood tests when required. If you miss an appointment they will get in touch to remind you to come in. For many medications over time you can have fewer blood tests and we will let you know if you can come in less often. The practice will contact you if there are any problems with the blood results.
Once a year you will also need to come in for a review of your treatment. This can be done with the GP if you need to see them anyway but is usually done with the practice nurse. We will call you in for this appointment.