Graham H Beastall, Geoffrey J Beckett, Jayne Franklyn, William D Fraser, Janis Hickey, Rhys John, Pat Kendall-Taylor, Betty Nevens, Mark Vanderpump British Thyroid Foundation, British Thyroid Association, The Association for Clinical Biochemistry, July 2012

Abstract

Purpose of the guidelines: It is hoped that the document will provide guidance for primary care physicians, specialist physicians, endocrinologists, and clinical biochemists. The accompanying patient information sets have been especially designed to explain thyroid function testing and to summarise the main recommendations in the guidelines in everyday language. The purpose of the guidelines is to encourage a greater understanding of thyroid function testing amongst all stakeholders with a view to the widespread adoption of harmonised good practice in the diagnosis and management of patients with thyroid disorders. The guidelines are also intended to provide a basis for local and national audit and each section offers recommendations that are suitable for the
audit process.

The document should be considered as guidelines only; it is not intended to serve as a standard of medical care. The doctors concerned must make the management plan for an individual patient. The focus of the document is thyroid function testing, and it is not intended to be a comprehensive text on thyroid disorders.

The process of development: The guideline development group met on several occasions. It was agreed to adopt the literature review accompanying the 2002 publication of The National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry entitled ‘Laboratory support for the Diagnosis and Monitoring of Thyroid Disease’ and to supplement this with publications occurring during and after 2001. Subgroups took responsibility for individual chapters and the whole group considered each draft. Patient representatives were full members of the development group throughout the development process. After completion by the development group, the guidelines were subjected to external refereeing by individuals with a range of interests, including patients, GP’s, physicians and laboratory specialists in district general hospitals and teaching centres as well as international experts. In addition the draft guidelines were posted on the websites of the ACB and BTA, with appropriate links, for a limited period, during which comments were invited and received. Subsequent to this the development group reviewed the comments and recommendations and appropriate revisions were made. All members of the group approved the guidelines.

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