Pauline Latham – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Pauline Latham on 2016-01-14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to improve GP education on skin cancer and dermatology.

Jane Ellison

In 2011, the Department of Health funded Cancer Research UK to work in partnership with the British Association of Dermatologists, to develop a Skin Cancer Toolkit for general practitioners (GPs). The toolkit was launched in 2012 and is currently available to GPs via doctors.net.

In June 2015, the National Institute for Care Excellence published new cancer referral guideline for GPs, including guidance for GPs on investigating patients with signs suggestive of skin cancer. The guideline will continue to support GPs to identify patients with signs and symptoms of suspected cancer, including skin cancer and urgently refer them as appropriate. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in collaboration with Cancer Research UK has worked on a programme of regional update events for GPs to enable GPs to adopt the new guidelines.

More generally, it is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC) to set the standards and outcomes for the education and training of doctors and to approve training curricula to ensure newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide high quality patient care.

The royal colleges, for example the RCGP have responsibility for developing curricula for doctors, in particular postgraduate curricula. Health Education England will work with bodies that set curricula such as the GMC and the RCGP to seek to ensure general practice training meets the needs of patients.