Retaining dermatology patients in primary care through dialogue with secondary care providers: A service evaluation

Julii Brainard, Amy Crawford, Beth Wright, Mark Lim, Paul Everden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: There are long patient waiting lists for specialist care. A dermatology dialogue service between primary and secondary care (DDPS) was developed in eastern England. Primary care referrers uploaded patient images of skin conditions for review by and dialogue with consultant dermatologists in an attempt to retain patients in primary care rather than refer them to secondary care. Methods: Evaluation of service performance against specific targets, including reduction in secondary care waiting list growth over the period April 2021–March 2022 inclusive. Service activity was summarized in terms of speed of resolution, case numbers, and dispositions. Clinician and patient satisfaction were assessed using structured questionnaires. Actual numbers of new referrals were compared to projections based on historical data. Waiting list growth was compared to other specialties and other commissioning areas. Waiting times to initial treatment were monitored. Results: Over 3300 patients were enrolled and > 90% of dialogues were resolved within 36 hours. Clinician and patient satisfaction were high. Frequently asked questions and conditions were highlighted by dermatologists to design and deliver an educational event for primary care clinicians that was well received. Waiting list growth for dermatology patients in the commissioning area was smaller than for other major specialties, and generally smaller than growth for dermatology waiting lists commissioned by other NHS commissioners. There was no negative impact on the urgent priority (cancer pathway) waiting list. Conclusion: The DDPS was satisfactory for clinicians and patients and coincided with lower growth in dermatology waiting lists than might otherwise have been expected.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103248
JournalAnnales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie
Issue number2
Early online date20 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2024


  • Pathway management
  • health services
  • primary care
  • referrals
  • dermatoscope
  • Health services
  • Referrals
  • Dermoscopy
  • Primary care

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