Unique Photo Project is a Winner!

29 January 2008, Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust

An innovative project, the first of its kind in the UK, has dramatically reduced the number of skin disease patients requiring an outpatient appointment.

Devised by Dr Alun Evans, Consultant Dermatologist at Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, Cameras in Primary Care was piloted among Neath Port Talbot GPs and has proved so successful, it is now also being rolled out across Bridgend County and the western Vale of Glamorgan.

Dermatology has the highest demand for its services of any medical specialty but waiting lists are notoriously long. Last year there were over 18,000 specialist consultations in Bro Morgannwg alone.

The Cameras in Primary Care project provides a unique (and very simple) solution to this problem: high quality instamatic cameras are placed in the GP surgeries and they are asked to send a photograph with every referral.

Such is the quality of these images that the specialist can often make a diagnosis and suggest treatment without seeing the patient in person at all. This has slashed the number of out patient appointments required and promises to dramatically reduce waiting lists.

Feedback from patients and GPs has been very positive, with one describing it as “the single most important change in the local Dermatology service in the 25 years I have been in practice.”

Amidst stiff competition Cameras in Primary Care was the winning project at the recent prestigious Chief Executive’s Innovation and Modernisation Award.

On receiving the Award and a cheque for £5,000 from Paul Williams, Bro Morgannwg’s Chief Executive, Dr Evans said: “I am delighted with the positive response we have had to this project which I believe is the biggest advance in access to dermatology services since the advent of the NHS in Wales.

“Skin disease and skin cancer affect a large proportion of the population across Wales with many thousands of people on waiting lists to see a specialist. This project dramatically reduces the number of people needing to take time away from work or their families to attend hospital. Our ultimate aim is to make waiting lists in dermatology a thing of the past.”

Win Griffiths, Trust Chairman, said: “The Cameras in Primary Care project has shown how the use of modern but simple technology can be taken up by the Health Service to make dramatic improvements in care. Dr Evans and his team are to be congratulated on taking forward this innovative idea.”

For more information, please contact:
Dr Alun Evans
Consultant Dermatologist
01656 752827

Note to Editor:
This image, which shows a skin cancer, is an example of the type of photo GPs send with their referrals.