"Dermatology: Complete Service Failure"

About: Essex County Hospital

Just attended the newly privatised dermatology service run by Concordia, they haven't got a clue. The new dermatologist didn't know how the hospital functioned, didn't know how long the service would be around and hadn't read my notes. Had never seen my funding letter for my 16 weeks treatment on Adalimumab and then said the appropriate clinic hadn't been set up and didn't know if that would happen. The consultant left me with no interim treatment save the existing medication, which has not worked and then patronisingly asked if I had tried eating oily fish. Re-booked me for 3 months time. Conclusion: Colchester Hospital Trust has abdicated its responsibility for Dermatology in North East Essex.

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Response from Essex County Hospital

I apologise you’ve not had a good patient experience. By way of explanation, nationally, there has been a shortage of specialist dermatology doctors for many years. The Trust has repeatedly tried, and failed, to appoint to substantive consultant dermatologist posts and other medical posts in that specialty. In recent times, the Trust has had just one substantive consultant dermatologist who resigned and left in December. During January, a locum consultant dermatologist and an associate specialist in dermatology also left. This left us with no specialist dermatology doctors although two specialist dermatology nurses continue to support patients as normal. These were exceptional and unforeseen circumstances. We and our main commissioner, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), anticipated this situation and gave a commitment, which we both still maintain, to continue to provide a dermatology service for the people of north east Essex from this Trust. We have been working together to put temporary measures in place and also agreed jointly to undertake a review of how dermatology services will be delivered in the future. Since December (2014), the Trust, North East Essex CCG and Ipswich Hospital have been discussing sustainable, longer term plans for joint working in the future. These discussions continue. We try really hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive from our patients, their relatives or carers. Could you email me, using the reference “Comment on Dermatology at 01/03/2015 10:20:00”, please so we can investigate further the issues that you raise? Many thanks Paul Searle, Head of Communications Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust info@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

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