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‘Mole clinics’ should not be commissioned by PCTs, say experts

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High street mole clinics set up to pick up cases of malignant melanoma should not be commissioned by PCTs, says the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin.

A report last year by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin criticised such clinics, which it said are often staffed by nurses with only two weeks of training in diagnosis of skin lesions.

These clinics often use new imaging technologies to detect the skin tumours but the report said such techniques are not comparable to full examinations by dermatologists.

Private companies were not able to provide audit and outcomes data in time for the report publication to demonstrate the clinical quality of their services.

The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin calls for standards to be put in place for using such screening techniques and for private providers to publish data as part of clinical governance frameworks linked to specialist dermatology teams.

‘We believe that, without such safeguards, PCTs should not commission such services,’ said Dr Ike Iheanacho, Editor of the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin.

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