New recommended standards of care for NHS services
Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base
A 116 page document outlining standards for HIV services in the National Health Service was published in October by the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MedFASH).
They are the first nationally agreed standards for England and have been endorsed by the Department of Health, the British HIV Association and the National Association of NHS Providers of AIDS Care, who all contributed to the funding of the recommendations. The standards have been compiled after consultations lasting two years.
The detailed standards cover HIV prevention, strategies for the early diagnosis of HIV infection, empowering people with HIV, access to specialist care and support services, local primary healthcare, integrated health and social care, comprehensive sexual health care for positive people, empowerment and support for pregnant women with HIV, adult and paediatric multidisciplinary care for children, families and their carers, in-patient care, and respite, rehabilitation and palliative care for people with HIV.
The recommended standards are aimed as guidance for service providers, commissioners and users of the NHS.
Dr Patrick French, a member of the government’s Independent Advisory Group for sexual health and HIV, and chair of the expert group which helped develop the standards, said “About a third of people living with the virus do not even know they are infected and risk severe illness if not diagnosed. They may present with symptoms in a variety of healthcare settings, such as primary care or A&E. The recommended standards should help healthcare staff in such settings to work together with HIV specialists, and to access appropriate training and support through HIV service networks.”
The full recommendations can be downloaded as a pdf file from: