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NICE skin cancer guidance causes GPs to give up minor surgery

9 October 2008

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Skin cancer guidance from NICE is forcing GPs out of minor surgery, according to the GPC (General Practitioners’ Committee).

The committee has called for the guidelines, which restrict GPs from carrying out low-risk surgery such as excising basal cell carcinomas, to be withdrawn after claiming that PCTs are struggling to implement them.

It said that GP surgeons are becoming increasingly frustrated by the administrative demands placed upon them and are considering giving up surgery.

Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT scrapped attempts to implement the institute’s 2006 skin cancer guidance after finding them unworkable.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman was reported by Pulse as saying: “The area of greatest concern relates to the impact on primary care minor surgery. We would like to ask that serious consideration is given to withdrawing the guidance and then republishing after the full implications within primary care have been evaluated.”

But NICE has refused to bow to increasing PCT pressure and withdraw the guidance, insisting that it was developed with full consultation.

NICE chief executive, Andrew Dillon, told Pulse: “The guidance was developed in a rigorous and transparent way, with full consultation. There may be local difficulties in implementing this particular aspect of the guidance but this does not mean it should be withdrawn.”

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