Care closer to home for people suffering skin diseases

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People with common skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, acne and psoriasis will be able to access faster and more appropriate care closer to home, thanks to a new pioneering service.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) has signed a three-year contract with Optum to deliver a new dermatology service from Thursday, August 1, that will see improved care for thousands of people living in Bedfordshire.

The new service will mean that patients have quicker access to appointments with a clinician, reduced waiting time for a referral, and receive better care that is co-ordinated across all the levels of their need.

For example, under the old model of care patients could see themselves visiting their GP on a number of occasions before being referred to a specialist and wait up to four weeks before getting an appointment with a consultant dermatologist. During this time their condition may have deteriorated and become more inflamed.

The new service will reduce the waiting period significantly for patients by allowing GPs to refer patients immediately to a multidisciplinary triage team who will book an appointment within 24 hours and have a consultant dermatologist assess and prescribe a treatment plan for the patient within a much shorter period of time.

Dr Paul Hassan, Accountable Officer for Bedfordshire CCG said: “I am extremely pleased that the new model of care for dermatology we have commissioned for patients will mean better health outcomes and experiences for thousands of people.

“This fresh and innovate approach to improving the coordination of patient care and patient experience will produce a better value dermatology healthcare system for the population of Bedfordshire and will improve the quality of life for many people.”

Dr Luke Twelves, medical director at Optum said: “We are delighted to be a part of Bedfordshire Integrated Dermatology Service and to work with the NHS to improve both efficiency and quality in the community. This service brings together our skills in referral facilitation, management and health education; to serve as an integrator for the health system. The end result is that patients will be able to access the right service in a coordinated way that will provide a positive experience and improve their health outcomes.”