Retaining dermatology patients in primary care using dialogues

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are long patient waits 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 to try to retain patients in primary care rather than be referred to secondary care.  
Methods: Evaluation of service performance with respect to specific targets including reduction in secondary care wait list growth in the period April 2021-March 2022 inclusive. Service activity was summarized with respect to speed of resolution, case counts and dispositions. Clinician and patient satisfaction were canvased with structured questionnaires. Actual new referral counts were compared to projections based on historical data. Wait list growth was compared to other specialisms and other commissioning areas. Wait times to receive first treatment were monitored.  
Results: Over 3300 patients were enrolled, > 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. Wait list growth to see dermatology in the commissioning area was smaller for dermatology than other large specialisms, and mostly smaller growth than dermatology wait lists commissioned by other NHS commissioners. Negative impact on the urgent priority (cancer pathway) wait list could not be observed.

Conclusions: The DDPS was satisfactory to clinicians and patients and coincided with smaller dermatology wait list growth than might otherwise have been expected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jul 2023


  • Pathway management
  • health services
  • primary care
  • referrals
  • dermatoscope

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