Patients with skin cancer will receive quicker diagnosis in Sheffield thanks to a new service being piloted.
Three surgeries in the city centre are trialling the TeleDerm service.
The service involves the use of a dermascope, a specialist telescope which produces a high quality digital image of the underlying structures of the skin using light and magnification.
It should significantly reduce both the number of patients with malignant melanoma initially misdiagnosed by GPs, and the number of people with benign pigmented lesions or moles being referred unnecessarily to hospital.
The scheme is being spearheaded by the Central Sheffield GP Consortium - a group of GPs in 27 practices in the city.
Michelle Wilde, practice manager at Manor Top Surgery, part of the consortium, said: “This service will increase the quality of diagnosis of pigmented lesions or moles, and will cut down on the significant number of people unnecessarily referred to hospital with benign, non-cancerous moles and marks.
Patients going to consortium GPs with concerns about a mole or abnormal skin lesion will be referred to specialist TeleDerm clinics being held at Dovercourt, Darnall and Gleadless surgeries.
Digital images produced by the dermascope will be analysed by skin care specialists who will produce a dermascopic investigation report for the referring GP within three days.