Area Case Study: Community Provided Dermatology

In this article we take a closer look at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG’s innovative teledermatology services set up before COVID-19. These services are now proving perfect for the sudden need for remote consultations.

‘Those who have used it, have really been impressed with the advice and guidance that’s come through, and even more  impressed that the consultants have phoned back days or two weeks later to check everything was all alright.”

Area Case Study: Community provided dermatology

NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group is one of the largest clinically-led commissioning organisations in England. It was officiated by NHS England on 1st April 2018, following a merger of NHS Birmingham Cross City CCG, NHS Birmingham South Central CCG and NHS Solihull CCG.

The CCG commissions health services for a population of 1.4 million, 170 different GP practices, and over 1,700 GPs (including trainees, registrars and locums).

We spoke to Pat Phillips, Senior Commissioning Manager – Planned Care, about the CCG’s innovative teledermatology services which are now proving perfect for the sudden need for remote consultations.

Currently GP and Hospital Dermatology Clinicians are asking patients take their own clinical photos and send these to their GP or Hospital by email to a secure email system. To ensure patients take images that are of a high quality, Consultant Connect has provided the CCG with a “A guide to taking the best photographs for teledermatology – for patients”. GPs send this guide to patients by email before requesting that they take the photos required. These photos are then reviewed using the CCG’s innovative teledermatology pathways which have been established for both Adults and Paediatrics.


Paediatric Dermatology – how the service started and why out-of-area paediatric resources are being used

With many clinicians retiring and Dermatologists leaving the profession, the CCG was left with no choice but to close a local hospital Paediatric Dermatology service. They asked Consultant Connect to help provide a solution. Soon a pilot was set up to provide GPs in NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG with out-of-area paediatric dermatology advice from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in South East London.

Pat says; “Guy’s & St Thomas’ have been amazing in what they’ve delivered for us. They answer their triage requests in minutes sometimes. It’s instant, and that was never known before. We had an over six-month waiting list in the children’s hospital for 1st Outpatients, and hundreds of follow-ups that couldn’t be scheduled, so it was a really challenging situation.”

Pat adds; “it has been a bit challenging getting all our GPs onboard, but those who have used it, have really been impressed with the advice and guidance that’s come through, and even more  impressed that the consultants have phoned back days or two weeks later to check everything was all alright. There have been examples of some of them having quite a long conversation across the evening about a very complex case, so they’ve really got involved with working with us.”


70% of all requests have been managed with Advice and Guidance being given back to the requester (avoiding unnecessary hospital visits), and that can be either a GP or the advanced nurse practitioners in the practice.


Adult Dermatology – how the service started and is expanding

“Teledermatology started as a pilot project in one GP practice, two years ago, and in the Solihull area” explains Pat. You can hear from some of the GPs at this practice – watch this short video.

The pilot has now become a successful service covering a population of 42,000 in a few different locations. Pat explains; “Instead of the requests going to a consultant in a hospital, they automatically come to our team of GPs with dermatology expertise – GPwSIs (GP with Special Interests). They are accredited with the Royal College of GPs, and we’ve also got nurse specialists working in that area as well.”

“GPwSIs each have about 100 tasks sent each month, and which get triaged every day. So, they come in as a task and a teledermatology review on SystmOne. That enables the GPwSI to see all of the patient’s record, and the related images as well. This is an opportunity not only to review the images but also to go back to GP colleagues and talk to them about the images and the patient’s condition. It’s also an opportunity to provide some education and training to the GPs.”

Pat adds: “There are cases which do require some urgent attention, but with a combination of the GP with experience, and a consultant in the hospital talking together, they have been able to deal with those patients who the actual GPwSI thought should have gone into a secondary care service.  We’ve now got a few more GPwSI / GPwER in Dermatology who can staff this service and we’re rolling it out to a much larger population very soon.”


Pat shared some data (Pre-COVID) from the audits: “Our data shows for this Pilot Practice, there’s been a 57% reduction in dermatology routine referrals, and 43% reduction in two week waits.”  (This data is year on year comparison).


 Useful Links

Related case studies

Paramedic case study: Emergency Medicine

Paramedic case study: Emergency Medicine

Michael Muir, Clinical Stroke Lead and paramedic at the Scottish Ambulance Service, describes how he uses Phone Advice & Guidance to speak to consultants at Ninewells Hospital at NHS Tayside ...

NWAS Case study: ICC Hubs

NWAS Case study: ICC Hubs

Jayne Gilbert from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust explains how paramedics use Consultant Connect to speak to ICC Hubs.

GP case study: Paediatrics

GP case study: Paediatrics

A GP in Milton Keynes CCG prevents an emergency situation for an ill baby by using Phone A&G from her local trust, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

GP case study: Podiatry

GP case study: Podiatry

Dr John Gubbay describes how he has used the Consultant Connect platform to get rapid podiatry Photo Advice & Guidance.

Contact us

For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals & mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.

Join a webinar

Listen to health experts from the comfort of your desk as we bring the experts to you in our series of online webinars.

Join our mailing list

Join our mailing list and we'll keep you informed of our latest blogs, project news, and upcoming webinar dates and topics.

Recent tweets

Contact us


You can view our Terms & Conditions here.

Most Read Articles

5 ways COVID affected NHS Advice & Guidance

We wrote recently about the “new normal” in healthcare. In our view, technologies which help patients avoid physical appointments are here to stay. Here’s how Advice and Guidance changed to become a central part of the new landscape…

read more
BBC Briefings | Consultant Connect mentioned in Welsh Government Update

The decision of the Welsh Government to commission Consultant Connect’s communication platform for ALL clinicians in Wales is an example of rapid innovation at scale to bring tangible, long-term benefits to patients and NHS Wales. It also means that over 25 million patients are now covered by Consultant Connect in the UK. Listen to the health minister mention Consultant Connect in his address to the press on 2nd June 2020.

read more
Worried about waiting lists?

The NHS is going to have to deal with the spike in demand as a knock-on from the pandemic. This article considers an NHS tool that is already being used which could reduce waiting lists by half.

read more