The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has been actively involved in providing advice on commissioning Dermatology services to its members, patients, Primary Care Commissioners and Health Scrutiny Committees (Local Authority).
Dermatology as a specialty in the NHS has faced many challenges since the introduction of the Care Closer to Home agenda in 2007. Often seen as a Cinderella specialty by Trust managers and Commissioners we should remember that nearly 4,000 patients a year die from their skin disease. Unlike some of the other care closer to home specialties we do not have a finite number of care pathways for our patients, with many often suffering from complex health problems.
In order to reflect the extent of problems experienced with the commissioning of Dermatology services in England, the BAD has undertaken a series of case reviews on service issues dealt with by our Clinical Services Unit since 2007 resulting in the publication of our ‘Lessons for the NHS – Commissioning a Dermatology Service’ document.
This Lessons for the NHS document is written for clinicians, service managers and Commissioners to illustrate the complexities in commissioning and procuring services for people with skin disease. It informs on areas where common mistakes with commissioning often occur such as understanding and being able to describe clearly the services required, allowing sufficient time to run the procurement exercise and establishing adequate contract management arrangements once the contract is agreed.