Feature

The BMJ Awards 2017: Dermatology

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1472 (Published 22 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1472

Nigel Hawkes describes how shortlisted teams are taking an holistic approach to improve care for people with skin disease

Teen and young adult skin clinic

Adolescents with skin problems can suffer serious and long term psychological effects. “It seems obvious, yet it isn’t tackled,” says Tess McPherson, consultant dermatologist at Oxford University Hospitals. “Very few dermatology clinics have psychological support, nor do they focus on this age group. In Oxford we had separate clinics for paediatric and adult dermatology, and no dedicated transition service for patients moving from one to the other. None of the clinics had dedicated psychological support.”

A national cohort study has shown that a third of young people are not referred on to adult clinics, and a fifth of those referred are never seen. The proportion of adolescents in the UK treated in specialist adolescent wards has not changed in 15 years.

The response in Oxford was to set up an adolescent clinic in the dermatology department with a psychologist. It deals with patients between 12 and 20, an age when skin problems can be especially disturbing. “These teenagers might be reluctant to go and see a psychologist, but in the context of dealing with the skin complaint, it’s normalised,” McPherson says.

In the first six months of 2016 over 30 patients were seen by the psychologist, including those with psoriasis, atopic eczema, acne, and dermatitis artefacta. Feedback is positive and patients …

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