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Clinics run by GPs with a special interest in dermatology achieve similar outcomes to hospital outpatient services ­ but are preferred by patients.

A trial of 556 patients, published online by the BMJ this week, found no differences in the quality of care provided by GPwSI or hospital services.

But patients rated GPwSI services as more accessible than outpatient services, with mean access scores of 76.1 and 60.5 respectively.

And average waiting time from receiving referral letter to first appointment was just 72 days with a GPwSI clinic, compared with 113 days for hospital outpatient services.

Study leader Professor Chris Salisbury, professor of primary health care at the University of Bristol, said: Our study provides the first rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of a GPwSI


'It provided care that was more accessible and preferred by patients than hospital outpatient care, with no evidence of important differences in clinical outcomes.'

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