Patients with psoriasis will be empowered to better manage their condition with the launch of a rapid access clinic designed to improve access to education and personalised treatment.
The Psoriasis Rapid Access Clinic, which has launched in Salford, will provide newly-diagnosed patients with a complete and specialist assessment of their psoriasis and education about how to best manage the disease.
Psoriasis is a long-term autoimmune disease which is characterised by red, flaky, crusty patches of skin. It can be a painful, disfiguring and disabling disease which affects not only a person’s skin but potentially also their mental health and wellbeing.
The lifelong condition affects up to 80,000 people in Greater Manchester and is mainly treated in the community through GPs, pharmacists or self-management. On average patient has psoriasis for eight years by the time they are reviewed by a dermatology specialist, according to national statistics.
The Psoriasis Rapid Access Clinic is a research study in collaboration with The University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (Part of Northern Care Alliance NHS Group) and funded by Health Innovation Manchester. It will initially run within a community practice in Salford with patients who have recently been diagnosed with psoriasis. Care will be delivered by a specialist team including dermatology consultant, a health psychologist and a dermatology nurse.
The clinic will focus on proactive psoriasis care, personalised treatment and educating patients to empower them to take care of their own condition. Patients will receive information about psoriasis including lifestyle factors which can increase the risk of flare-ups, practical advice about using creams and details of the treatments available.
Patients will also be offered screenings for other conditions associated with the disease, such as cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression. Blood samples collected as part of the clinic will also enable research to test for genomic factors with an aim of developing better and more personalised care in the future.
Dr Claire Reid, post-CCT clinical research fellow, University of Manchester and honorary dermatology consultant, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, will run the clinic in partnership with NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and GPs.
She said: “The Psoriasis Rapid Access Clinic is a new and unique approach to psoriasis management.
“It will place the patient at the centre of their care and will empower them to play an active role in managing their psoriasis through education, access to personalised treatment and screening for other conditions.”
She added that care will be tailored to the individual in a holistic approach and plans are also developing for a digital aspect to the clinic with an app to allow patients to track and manage their psoriasis.
“We hope the rapid access clinic will be a positive experience for patients, giving them information to feel confident that they can take control of their psoriasis,” Dr Reid continued.
The launch of the Psoriasis Rapid Access Clinic coincides with Psoriasis Shout Out Week, which aims to get people talking about the disease and bring together professionals working in the field of psoriasis management and research. The overarching message is a positive one - it is possible to live well with psoriasis.
Psoriasis Shout Out ambassador Becca Darwent-Black (pictured) believes the Psoriasis Rapid Access Clinic will be “lifechanging” for those recently diagnosed with the disease.
Becca (35), from Levenshulme, was just 14 when she was diagnosed with psoriasis and has been hospitalised on three occasions following serious flare-ups which left her unable to walk.
The marketing executive, who has tried a variety of treatments to help her manage the condition, said: “Psoriasis doesn’t just affect your skin, it affects the way you feel everyday.
“When you have a flare-up you stop socialising and can’t wear the clothes you want or even sleep due to the pain sometimes. It can take you to very dark places.
“The rapid access clinic is a brilliant idea and I honestly believe it would have helped me if I’d been able to access information and treatment earlier in my diagnosis.
“Having the information you need and knowing where to turn is vital and I honestly believe it will be life-changing for those diagnosed with psoriasis.”
Professor Christopher Griffiths, who leads Psoriasis Shout Out is also excited to be setting up the clinic and providing patients with personalised treatment pathway.
Professor Griffiths, consultant dermatologist at Salford Royal and Foundation Professor of Dermatology at The University of Manchester, said: “We are excited about setting up this innovative and novel clinic.
“This will provide the opportunity to intervene very early, by several years, in the course of psoriasis.
“By so doing we hope to get patients onto a personalised treatment pathway and lifestyle to allow good control of their psoriasis and prevent the development of associated conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and heart disease."