Patients with skin disease deserve better treatment

22 Oct 2009 11:19:00.000

PA 273/09

Better access to specialists, more relevant training for health professionals and the introduction of reliable data to manage services effectively — these are the recommendations of a major review carried out by experts at The University of Nottingham into health care for patients with skin disease.

Skin disease is one of the commonest problems seen in Primary Care. Nearly a quarter of the population in England and Wales went to their GP with a skin problem in 2006 — the most common reasons being skin infections and eczema. The quality of life for people with skin disease such as psoriasis, atopic eczema and acne can be significantly impaired leading to psychological problems, disability and loss of earnings. It led to nearly 4,000 deaths in the UK in 2005.

The report Skin conditions in the UK: a Health Care Needs Assessment was led by Dr Julia Schofield, who is now at the University of Hertfordshire, and a team of experts based in the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD) in Nottingham. Their findings will be presented today at the University of Hertfordshire.

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Hywel Williams, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology and Director of the CEBD said: “Despite skin disease being very common, the direct cost to the NHS in providing care is relatively modest. Access to specialists is not easy and many people who suffer from skin disease are still turning to over the counter (OTC) products to treat skin problems. The high sales of OTC skin products suggest that people buy from pharmacies yet training of pharmacists in the management of skin problems is limited. The report says that new service delivery models are needed if the growing number of patients with skin disease are to get the right health care at the right time. Although there is a range of highly specialised skills in supra-specialist centres for people with rare or complicated dermatological disease the vast majority of patients need access to appropriately trained health care professionals in primary care and easier access to specialists when needed.”


The report was carried out independently by the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, and is aimed at helping health care commissioners, health care workers and people who access these services to be more informed about the bigger picture of skin disease and how it might be best treated at a community level. It has made 10 key recommendations saying the impact of skin disease on quality of life and response to treatment has to be embedded in every day clinical practice.


A free copy of the report can be found at:


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.


The Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at Nottingham aims to provide independent high quality evidence on the effects of treatments for skin disease.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Hywel Williams on +44 (0)115 823 1048,; or Dr Julia Schofield ,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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