NICE guidance to allow GPSIs to treat skin cancer

GPs with a Special Interest (GPSIs) will be allowed to continue minor surgery for a range of skin cancers under updated NICE guidance.

The final draft of NICE's skin cancer guidance is due out on 25 May. It will permit GPSIs with links to acute trust clinical governance frameworks to treat ‘the full range of skin cancers'.

It was previously feared that treatment would only be allowed for a heavily restricted list of carcinoma types.

The update will allay concerns that strict controls would restrict treatment of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) in primary care and unnecessary secondary care referrals.

NICE guidance issued in 2006 recommended that patients with low risk BCCs be diagnosed and treated by local hospital skin cancer specialists.

By April 2008, LMCs complained that implementation of NICE guidance was preventing GPs from treating BCCs in primary care.

NICE subsequently decided to review its skin cancer guidance in April 2009. The first draft of this guidance suggested the list of ‘high-risk' BCCs that GPs could treat would be extensive, effectively prohibiting primary care treatment of such conditions.

But Primary Care Dermatology Society (PCDS) trustee Dr Stephen Hayes said that the final guidance would avert this risk and allow continued treatment of BCCs in primary care.

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