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National and international experts in dermatology are to feature at the 21st Primary Care Dermatology Society of Ireland (PCDSI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Co Kildare next month.
Last year’s meeting in Killarney saw more than 400 delegates attend over the course of three days and organisers are hoping that similar numbers will be in attendance this year as the meeting continues to grow in popularity.
More than 30 talks will take place during the three days and over a dozen speakers are lined-up to present.
Chairperson of the PCDSI, Ennis GP Dr Finbar Fitzpatrick, told the Medical Independent (MI) that the meeting aims to enhance GP knowledge in dermatology.
“Our primary motive is to update GP skills in enhancing clinical care for our patients and that GPs continue to provide an important role in the management of skin disease in the community; and that there would be an ongoing and enhanced relationship in the management of skin diseases between primary and secondary care,” Dr Fitzpatrick noted.
Dr Finbarr Fitzpatrick, Chair, PCDSI
The meeting will open on Thursday 30 March with a special course on dermoscopy. An advanced and basic session will run concurrently throughout the day.
The advanced dermoscopy course will be delivered by renowned Austrian professor Harald Kittler and consultant dermatologist Dr Colin Fleming, who works in the UK.
Prof Kittler is based at the Department of Dermatology in the Medical University of Vienna and is described by Dr Fitzpatrick as “one of the leading specialists in the world in dermoscopy”.
Dr Fleming, Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, is also an expert on dermoscopy. The advanced course is aimed at GPs already practicing extensively in dermoscopy, Dr Fitzpatrick added.
The basic dermoscopy session will be delivered by Dr Patrick Ormond and Dr Rupert Barry, both of whom are Consultant Dermatologists at St James’s Hospital, Dublin.
This session is aimed at GPs who have only recently started to use dermoscopy or who wish to consider using it in their clinical practice.
“Dermoscopy is an additional clinical tool for examining skin lesions that are suspicious for skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers and also verifying many benign lesions and other innocuous conditions like scabies and haemangiomas,” Dr Fitzpatrick stated.
A dermatoscope is used to examine skin lesions and according to Dr Fitzpatrick, some GPs in Australia describe it as being more useful than a stethoscope.
“Skin cancer is increasing exponentially. The highest incidence of melanoma after Australia is in the Celtic countries due to our skin type and the increasing age of the population,” Dr Fitzpatrick remarked.
“Ten per cent of presentations to the GP have some skin diagnosis and for GPs with an interest in dermatology, that generally rises to 20 per cent in patients they see. Checking skin lesions regularly comes up in standard general practice consultations.”
Dr Fitzpatrick estimates that around one-in-20 Irish GPs uses a dermatoscope and he believes its usage is increasing.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world. According to the Irish Cancer Society (ICS), skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with more than 10,000 incidences in 2013.
Almost 6,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occurred in men in 2013, while over 4,700 women were diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer that year, state statistics from the ICS.
Melanoma skin cancer accounted for 477 cases in men and 507 cases in women in 2013.
The advanced dermoscopy session (Thursday) will close with case presentations and discussion led by Kerry GP Dr Conor Brosnan.
The main meeting will get underway on Friday, where one stream of talks is planned before advanced and basic sessions are run concurrently on Saturday.
General dermatology topics to feature include psoriasis, drug eruptions, skin infections, eczema, lupus and the skin and connective tissue disorders in children, among many others.
Friday will open with a talk titled ‘Pearls in Dermatology for the Primary Care Practitioner’ by distinguished UK dermatologist Dr Anthony DuVivier.
Dr DuVivier has produced one of the ‘bibles’ of dermatology — the Atlas of Clinical Dermatology — a must-have for GPs with an interest in dermatology, according to Dr Fitzpatrick.
Based in London, Dr DuVivier last spoke in Killarney more than five years ago and his return will be welcomed by all, Dr Fitzpatrick said.
“We’re delighted to have him back. That will be a real treat for anyone with an interest in dermatology. He will be giving two talks,” Dr Fitzpatrick revealed, with Dr DuVivier’s other presentation covering haematology and the skin.
Consultant Dermatologist at Queen Mary University, London, Prof Rino Cerio, will also deliver two talks, one titled ‘Actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease and Squamous Cell Carcinoma’ and another on ‘Cutaneous Granulomas’.
This year’s meeting has placed a large emphasis on talks by GPs for GPs, Dr Fitzpatrick outlined.
“These talks have proven in the past to be very relevant and practical for what presents in primary care, which can be a different spectrum of skin disease than seen in secondary care. So it’s important GPs get a good education on skin diseases they are seeing on a day-to-day basis,” Dr Fitzpatrick stated.
Cases presentations by PCDSI members, many of whom have in the past received bursaries from the Society for the undertaking of postgraduate education, will take place on the Friday.
Limerick city and Ennis GP Dr Siobhán Twohig will speak on interesting dermatology cases in primary care.
Dr Twohig completed the Mid-Western Specialist Training Programme in General Practice in 2016 and has a keen interest in dermatology. She also completed the Diploma in Practical Dermatology through Cardiff University last year.
Meanwhile, Galway GP and PCDSI Committee member Dr Karen Reidy will present on common scaly hand and foot rashes.
Dr Sinead Collins, Consultant Dermatologist at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, spoke at last year’s meeting and returns this year with follow-up talks on topical steroids and managing common paediatric rashes in primary care.
Consultant Dermatologist at South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork, Dr Lesley Anne Murphy, is also returning to the meeting this year with presentations on top tips for eczema and on the child with a rash and pyrexia.
It will be Dr Nicola Ralph’s first time coming to the meeting. Dr Ralph is a Consultant Dermatologist based at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, and is speaking about localised scaly rashes and psoriasis.
UK-based consultant dermatologists Dr Ian Coulson and Dr Sarah Walsh will also be in attendance, with both experts delivering two talks each at the meeting.
Along with Dr Fitzpatrick, PCDSI Committee members include Treasurer Dr George Roberts, Secretary Dr Bernadette O’Leary, Dr Karen Reidy, Dr Conor Brosnan and Dr Des Buckley.
Limerick GP Dr Johnny Loughnane is also heavily involved with the Society and organised the scientific programme for the meeting.
“The scientific programme has been put together by Dr Johnny Loughnane and the meeting would not run without his excellent skills in liaising with speakers and his own intimate knowledge of dermatology and primary care,” Dr Fitzpatrick said.
As the Society is voluntarily-run, organisers are always keen to hear from GPs with an interest in dermatology that may be willing to give some time to the organisation.
“They can come to the AGM and put themselves forward for the committee if they wish,” Dr Fitzpatrick explained.
“We are always keen to welcome new attendees and members who wish to develop an interest in dermatology or enhance their existing knowledge for the 10 per cent-plus consultations in general practice that involve a skin presentation.
“We are very keen to further enhance the skills base of general practitioners in the management of common skin conditions in the community and the assessment of suspicious skin lesion and we’re also very keen that general practitioners would continue to play an important role in the management of skin diseases in Ireland.”
The meeting takes place at the Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare, from 30 March. It is returning to the east of the country for the first time in many years, in line with the Society’s policy of rotating the meeting around the country, Dr Fitzpatrick said.
For more information, visit www.pcdsi.com.