GPs who carry out dermatological surgery – including removal of skin cancers and the excision of small bumps and lumps – are being urged by the RCGP to join a network of colleagues so as to provide mutual support and spread good practice ideas.
The RCGP and Health and Social Care Information Centre are behind the web-based network, and want GPs to submit information through a community-based surgery audit (CBSA) on lesions treated, surgery undertaken, results of histological analysis and occurrence of complications.
The scheme was piloted last year, but is now being rolled out nationally.
The audit will establish for the first time how many GPs are carrying out dermatological surgery, along with a snapshot of what their work involves.
It will bring a mechanism for measuring the quality and quantity of community surgery, allow GPs to make comparison with their peers, and allow a ‘high-level analysis and reporting of data’ to give an overview of community-based surgery practice, the RCGP says.
Dr Imran Rafi, chair of the RCGP clinical information and research centre, said: ‘Patients trust their GP and many feel more comfortable having this type of treatment at their local practice, rather than going to hospital. It’s vital that we establish how many of these procedures are taking place, so that we can support more GPs to do this work – thereby reducing pressure on secondary care and specialist units.’
Dr Jonathan Botting, clinical lead for minor surgery at the RCGP, said: ‘As the incidence of melanoma is doubling every ten years the NHS needs to support suitably skilled GPs as part of an extended, community-based, surgical network.’
To take part in the audit go to http://www.hscic.gov.uk/cbsa