New referral system benefits patients with physical and mental health needs in Doncaster
Doncaster adults suffering from skin conditions are benefiting from a new referral service that focuses on both their physical and psychological needs.
The borough’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Long Term Conditions team - which cares for people with mild to moderate mental health problems linked to their enduring health condition - introduced the dermatology ‘pathway’ after research found that up to 15 percent of patients with an anxiety disorder had related skin issues.
Therapist Alison Lynskey, from Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The pandemic has raised many people’s worry levels and anxiety can impact on people with pre-existing skin conditions like eczema. When people become anxious their defence system kicks in, releasing hormones which affect different functions in the body and can lead to skin complaints.
“To prevent Covid spreading we are sensibly advised to wash our hands more frequently but people with an anxiety disorder can do this so frequently that they damage their skin.
“We work with people whose emotional distress is impacting on their skin condition or their skin condition is being made worse by their anxiety. The pathway was originally set up with the Dermatology Department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, but we have now widened the referral process to include Doncaster GPs and other health care professionals.
"So if a doctor sees a patient with a skin problem and mental health problems are evident, they can be referred to our service for advice and support.”