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Primary Care Dermatology Society of Ireland (PCDSI) Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

By Mindo - 16th Jan 2019

Dr Finbar Fitzpatrick, Chairperson, Primary Care Dermatology Society of Ireland, gives a preview of the Society’s upcoming 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place in Limerick in March

The Primary Care Dermatology Society of Ireland (PCDSI) is delighted to encourage and welcome as many GPs as interested to its three-day Annual Scientific Meeting, which this year returns to the Strand Hotel in Limerick after an absence of five years. This year’s meeting is scheduled to run from 8 to 10 March and all are welcome to attend the full three days or part of the meeting, as suits interest and schedule. 

The principal aim of the PCDSI is to facilitate and foster medical education in the field of dermatology for GPs who wish to improve their general knowledge of dermatology and/or develop an interest in the field. 

The Society’s activities in 2017 reflected this aim. The principal education activity that was undertaken was a three-day Scientific Meeting held in early April in Killashee House Hotel in Naas, Co Kildare. This involved a special study day in the field of dermoscopy on the Thursday of the meeting. This was followed by two days of educational lectures and workshops on the Friday and Saturday. The PCDSI’s Scientific Meeting is now one of the largest educational meetings for GPs held each year, with over 400 attendees for part or the whole of the event in 2017. In addition to the Scientific Meeting, postgraduate education was facilitated through the awarding of educational bursaries to suitable applicants who engaged in approved postgraduate dermatology educational university courses (Diploma, Certificate and Masters).

Pictured at the PCDSI conference in the Malton Hotel, Killarney 8/4/2016 were founding members of the association, from left, Johnny Loughnane, George Roberts, Karen Reidy, Finbarr Fitzpatrick and Hilda O’Shea. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Dr Finbar Fitzpatrick, PCDSI

Two members of the PCDSI committee were invited, and participated on a voluntary basis, to join the National Cancer Control Programme’s working group on the formation of guidelines for GPs for the management of non-melanoma skin cancer. 

The annual three-day PCDSI Scientific Meeting remains, however, the Society’s main focus and this year is no different. The meetings are increasing in popularity, with last year’s having the largest attendance figures since the PCDSI started up. We are expecting a similar if not greater number in attendance this year, particularly as we are returning to the easily-accessible mid-west region. The Strand Hotel proved an excellent venue on our previous attendance in 2013, when feedback from delegates and speakers alike was overwhelmingly positive. The conference facilities are excellent at this centrally-located Limerick hotel, which also offers opportunities to explore Limerick’s rejuvenated and attractive riverbank area. The return to Limerick is in line with our aim of rotating the Annual Scientific Meeting to various parts of the country to facilitate as many delegates to attend as possible. We are always keen to welcome new members and attendees who wish to develop an interest in dermatology or enhance their existing knowledge for the 10 per cent-plus of consultations in general practice that involve a skin presentation. 

Once again, we have an excellent line-up of high-calibre speakers providing an interesting and varied programme to suit everyone. Dr Johnny Loughnane has worked tirelessly, as in other years, to put an excellent programme together. 


This year, we have a designated study day on the Thursday in the form of an eczema symposium. As eczema is an everyday presentation in its various forms to GPs, and as GPs are the mainstay of the management of eczema in clinical practice in Ireland, we expect this to be very popular with delegates. We have specifically focused on this area to help enhance the care of eczema in the community, where it is most appropriately managed. With the increasing incidence of eczema in the last 10 years, this is a condition that is, can and should be managed primarily in general practice, allowing for more complicated dermatological problems to be managed in secondary care. We expect the day to provide an essential baseline education for GPs and an update for those with an interest in dermatology. We have 10 high-calibre speakers resourcing this day-long symposium, running clinical sessions throughout the day. Dr Sarah Walsh, Lead Dermatologist from King’s Hospital London, promises a highly interesting talk on the core principle of using habit-rever­sal in eczema management. Dr David Paige from Barts NHS Health Trust and the Royal London Hospital is also trav­elling to speak about what is new and upcoming in eczema management. Dr Deirdre Buckley, an internationally-recog­nised Consultant Dermatologist with a special interest in al­lergies, travelling from Bath in the UK, will update us on al­lergic and irritant contact eczema. Leading Irish dermatol­ogist Dr Rosemary Watson will speak on eczema infection and management — bacterial, viral and fungal. Popular local Consultant Dermatologist and a great supporter of the Soci­ety Dr Bart Ramsay will give what is sure to be an enlighten­ing talk on a potpourri of eczemas.

In addition, we are fortunate to have GPs with an inter­est in dermatology, Dr Johnny Loughnane and Dr David Buckley, also speaking on the day. Specialist nurse practi­tioner Ms Sheila Ryan, whose talk was very well received in Killarney in 2015, will speak on the core principle of man­aging the skin barrier. We fully expect this study day, as per previous study days that we have run, to prove very popular and early booking is advised.

Packed programme

On Friday and Saturday, as in other years, we have a packed two-day programme of general dermatology topics. There are two streams in basic and more advanced dermatology top­ics on Saturday, which will facilitate everyone’s interests. On the Friday, I fully expect talks on common lesions and rashes in the newborn from Dr Watson and Dr David Paige to prove highly informative for busy GPs who these days are frequent­ly assessing infants. Other highlights on Friday are likely to in­clude a talk from Dr Ramsay on psychocutaneous disease, and rashes that blister from Dr Aoife Lally.

On the Saturday, we have advanced and basic sessions running in parallel throughout the early and late morning sessions. I am in particular looking forward to a talk from Dr Sarah Walsh on ‘To err is human — avoiding errors in dermatology’. Dr Helen Young, Dermatologist, University of Manchester, also promises an informative talk on eryth­roderma, a dermatological emergency. Limerick dermatol­ogist Dr Caitriona Hackett, who has spoken well at previous meetings, will speak on neutrophilic dermatoses.

There are many highlights in the basic dermatology sessions. Dr Julia Schofield, Principal Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, will speak on lesion diagno­sis in the elderly, which is very relevant for any GP attending. Dr Schofield also promises a highly-informative and entertaining talk on Saturday afternoon on ‘Daily Mail’ dermatology.

In recent years, we have increased the emphasis on GPs giv­ing talks on dermatology topics, as often, the clinical spectrum of disease and disease burden is different in general practice than in the secondary care setting. This year is no different and we are fortunate to have talks from Dr Siobhan Twohig on in­teresting cases in primary care and topics on diagnosing com­mon rashes in primary care from Dr Conor Brosnan.

Many thanks

This extensive programme is all thanks to the hard work and gentle persuasive methods of Dr Johnny Loughnane, to whom I am indeed deeply indebted for putting this excel­lent educational programme together. He deserves a lot of credit for the enormous amount of work he puts into keep­ing this Society alive and thriving.

Many thanks to all our speakers, especially those who have travelled from Europe and the UK. It is great to see some familiar faces returning and also some new faces thrown into the pot.

I am also indebted to all our sponsors and exhibitors, without whose yearly support this meeting would be very difficult to hold.

Finally, on behalf of the PCDSI, I would like to thank all meeting attendees for your continued support. I hope that as well as the event being educational, that you have an op­portunity to catch-up with some friends and colleagues over the three days in Limerick. I’m looking forward to see­ing as many GPs as possible there.

Full details of meeting programme and an opportunity to register are available on

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