GPs 'not following NICE guidance on skin cancer'

GPs are performing minor surgery on patients with skin cancer instead of referring them on to specialist services, the British Association of Dermatologists has warned.

Studies presented at the British Association of Dermatologists annual meeting in Liverpool earlier this month found that GPs were not following the NICE guidance on skin cancer.

NICE advises GPs to remove most basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) but to refer patients to dermatologists for more advanced types of skin cancer such as malignant melanoma.

But in Derbyshire an audit of skin specimens sent for analysis after surgery found that 33 per cent of skin cancers operated on by GPs had not been completely removed.

While in Sussex, 14 per cent of skin cancer patients were inappropriately treated.

However, in April this year HCR reported that the implementation of NICE guidance was actually preventing GPs from treating BCCs in primary care.

A number of LMCs in various PCT areas raised concerns about the NICE guidance at a GPC meeting.

Dr Mike Parks, medical secretary at Kent LMC, warned that the NICE guidance was preventing GPs from performing minor surgery, resulting in dermatology clinics being swamped with extra patients.

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