Doncaster GPs are trialling a new electronic system of assessing skin conditions.
Derek Hewitt, 65, is one of the first patients to benefit from the new fast-track Teledermatology service that uses a special high magnification lens to take a photo of a skin irregularity which they can then email in seconds to specialists at the Mole Clinic in London for assessment and diagnosis.
Derek, an electrical engineer from Warmsworth, said: “I have what looks like a small blood blister on my lip and it has been there for a number of years and won’t disappear. My wife thought it had changed recently so I booked an appointment at my GP practice. The photo took seconds to take and the surgery rang me at home the next day to say it was benign and there was nothing to worry about. It was an excellent service”.
Dr Pat Barbour, a GP at The Medical Centre, where Derek is a patient, is also a member of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Governing Body. She said: “The aim of the trial is to see if we can reduce the number of patients who are referred to hospital with skin lesions and moles that are no risk to their health.
“The quality of the image is so good that a skin expert can look at them and quickly make an assessment but if there is the slightest uncertainty the patient will be referred to hospital. The CCG is trying to provide services closer to home to avoid patients having to travel to hospital for appointments.
“The scheme is proving popular with patients. We will evaluate it in a few months to see what we have learned with a view to extending it further if it proves to be reducing the number of referrals to skin specialists.”