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UK psoriasis care a “postcode lottery”, says survey


19 February, 2008  

Psoriasis patients across the UK are experiencing differing and sometimes sub-standard levels of care, according to a new survey by the British Association of Dermatologists and Royal College of Physicians.

Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease which causes excessive and very itchy skin growth, can have a strong physical and psychological impact on suffers. The condition affects between one and three percent of the UK population and can require lengthy in-hospital treatment.

The survey, conducted across 100 dermatology units in Britain, found that just 40% had clinical psychology services available for patients, 32% did not have adequate bathing and showering facilities for adult in-patients, and one in five had no dermatology specialist nurses.

Dr Colin Holden, President of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “This audit has produced data clearly showing that on a national level, the NHS is failing to provide patients with the level of care they deserve. Basic elements such as bathing facilities, appropriately trained staff and access to treatments are lacking to a worrying degree.”

Dr David Eedy, dermatologist in County Armagh and one of the study’s authors, said: “The results exposed major discrepancies and a ‘postcode lottery’ in the care of patients. We will be making the government aware of our findings.”                

David Chandler, psoriasis patient and Chief Executive of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance, said: “The report supports anecdotal evidence from those that contact us about the inconsistencies of treatment and facilities in the UK.

“Living with a disease that affects you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is depressing enough, but to then find out that if you lived in a different location you would get better care is just an added burden.”

British Association of Dermatologists