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Dermatology switch may deskill GPs

Moving too much dermatology work into primary care purely in order to save money risks deskilling doctors and will damage patient care, GPs are warning.

The Primary Care Dermatology Society is arguing that hospital-based training for GPs specialising in skin care is under threat from 'unfettered' introduction of referral management centres by PCTs.

Hospital trusts are likely to close under-utilised acute dermatology units if the referral management centres continue to 'shift all dermatology into primary care because they believe it is cheaper', the society has cautioned.

Dr Stephen Kownacki, chair of the society and a GP in Northampton, said a cut in secondary care services would inevitably lead to a lowering of educational standards.

He said: 'Dermatology has an acute component, which is very important. We risk losing that and having patients travel many miles for treatment if they have complex conditions.'

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