Skin Conditions Campaign Scotland recently held an event at the Scottish Parliament, working alongside the British Association of Dermatologists, to raise awareness of skin conditions amongst MSPs. The event was attended by people who are living with or caring for someone with a skin condition, charities which support people with specific skin conditions, a team of dermatologists, representatives of the Scottish Dermatological Society and Scottish Dermatological Nursing Society, Dr Fiona MacDonald – the National Clinical Lead for Dermatology, MSPs and their staff.
MSPs were offered the opportunity to have a mole check, and to learn about skin cancer in the process. This, we hope, helped to focus their minds on how easily each of us can be affected by skin disease.
NHS staff working in dermatology were able to talk to MSPs about their professional experiences and explain some of the issues their service is facing.
Following this, MSPs had the opportunity to speak both with people who have skin conditions and with volunteers and staff from various charities. They had their photo taken, and we gathered a statement of support from each MSP who attended, which were later released on social networks in order to raise awareness and embed the message that dermatology services need political support in order to meet the public’s needs.
MSPs were also given written information about the systemic issues which disrupt the provision of dermatology services, such as:
• 1.2 million people, a quarter of the population, visit their GP with a skin issue every year in Scotland – these visits account for around one in five of all GP consultations. This results in more than 100,000 patients a year visiting Scottish dermatology departments.
• Many of these departments are not fully staffed, with around 22 per cent of dermatologist posts in the country unfilled. This leads to long waiting lists, delayed referrals for patients, and hospital teams which are under significant pressure.
• Across Scotland, around 50,000 people are referred to hospitals annually for possible skin cancers. The number of people in the UK developing melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) each year has risen from around 1,800 in the mid-1970s to over 15,000 today.
(Source: British Association of Dermatologists)
Our thanks go to the MSPs who attended, and their communications teams for sharing images from the event. Particular gratitude to Jon Major and Nina Goad from the British Association of Dermatologists, for a great example of partnership working!
We would encourage you to share this image on social networks, to help bring public attention to skin conditions and the need for accessible, timely, expert advice and support. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.