Vitamin D guidelines:General practitioners’ attitudes and awareness

Townsend, Rebecca, Smith, Timothy orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1460-7394 and Chauhan, Umesh orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0747-591X (2018) Vitamin D guidelines:General practitioners’ attitudes and awareness. In: SAPC North Conference 2018, 29th-30th November, 2018, Kendal. (Unpublished)

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Background: 1 in 5 people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D and people in the north of England are particularly high risk due to reduced vitamin D from the sun. NICE guidelines on preventing deficiency were published in November 2014 which state that “Healthcare professionals should assist with the uptake, promotion, and education of vitamin D supplementation amongst the population, especially within groups at risk.”

Method: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire conducted in July-August 2018 amongst GPs in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen CCGs. The questions assessed demographics of participants and their patients, knowledge of the guidelines and current practice on treating and supplementing.

Results: The vast majority of GPs practising in this area see patients regularly who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Those qualified for more than 5 years almost entirely relied on local guidelines based on NICE guidelines as their primary source of information about vitamin D (93.1%), compared to about half of First5 GPs or those still in training (52.6%). Those who had read local guidelines were significantly more confident in providing advice on vitamin D, X2 (16)=28.50, P<0.05.

Conclusion: GPs in East Lancashire regularly consult patients at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Local guidelines are seen as the most important source of information on managing these patients, and these give increased confidence to those who have read them. GPs' awareness and knowledge has increased compared to earlier studies in similar populations predating NICE guidelines, although time pressures remain a barrier to full implementation.

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