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​ GPs ‘cannot keep up to date with skin cancer surgery’

GP surgeons are unable to get enough practice at cutting out low-risk skin cancers because such cases occur so rarely, dermatology specialists have claimed.

Despite a rise in basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cases, they said their study showed there are still too few suitable low-risk cases for GPs who practice skin surgery to maintain expertise in surgical removal of the cancers.

Under NICE recommendations, GP surgeons are able to carry out low-risk BCC excisions.

However, the team of dermatology specialists from West Birmingham and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trusts said that in their area, only 3% of BCCs excised over 32 months were classed as low risk.

The team concluded that ‘low-risk BCCs suitable for excision by GP surgeons are of low prevalence’ and that it would be ’difficult for GPs to maintain competencies to perform effective skin surgery’ and ‘unlikely to be economically viable to excise BCCs in primary care’.

Clin Exper Dermatol; March 2016