Shared appointments are trialled for skin conditions

GPs in Birmingham are trialling group appointments for patients with skin conditions, inspired by schemes in the US and Germany.

GPs are investigating group appointments for patients with eczema (Photograph: SPL)
GPs are investigating group appointments for patients with eczema (Photograph: SPL)

These sessions involve patients with similar concerns attending a presentation about their condition, and meeting in a group led by a nurse, before an individual consultation.

Dr Rati Naresh, a GPSI in dermatology, said his team was keen to explore a group-appointment approach in its community GPSI clinic.

Dr Naresh said the team was trying the system with eczema patients and their families.

'We are looking at eight to 10 parents and children attending group sessions with our nurse specialist and GPSI giving talks on skin care management, treatment, diet and so on.

'The (US) study initiated our internal discussions and then we attended an evidence-based eczema study day about a similar project in Germany, on which we are basing our own group project.'

Shared appointments have been used by US primary care teams managing chronic diseases to cut redundant appointments and boost access.

A study in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine found shared appointment clinics can help reduce BP in patients with diabetes.

In a study in Archives of Dermatology, US researchers showed group dermatology clinics improved access and productivity and reduced costs.

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