To celebrate it’s second World Skin Health Day yesterday, the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) launched their ‘More than skin deep: Skin diseases in Australia – navigating the healthcare system’ report to highlight the fact that almost a million people in Australia, or more than 4% of the population, suffer from long term skin conditions.
In their media release, President of the ACD, Associate Professor David Francis said that skin diseases, including skin cancer, are amongst the most common human illnesses and skin disorders ranked sixth of all disease groups for non-fatal burden of disease in Australia. “Accessing timely, affordable, relevant and ongoing care for skin conditions is essential, and can lead to improved patient outcomes,” he says in the media release.
The report looks at the impact that chronic skin conditions have on patients, including the discrimination and social trauma experienced from the patient’s perspective. Developed in collaboration with dermatology patient support groups for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, gorlin syndrome, vitiligo, allergy and anaphylaxis, epidermolysis bullosa, melanoma and alopecia, the report also considers solutions.
The ACD found a few consistent issues such as accessing help was often challenging for patients due to the stigma attached to those with skin conditions. A/Prof Francis said in the release, “Increasing awareness of what dermatologists do is incredibly important, so that patients are empowered to seek specialist care appropriately. We are extremely grateful to the patients who shared their stories with us about their journey to access dermatology care.”
The release says there is a long way to go before all patients with skin conditions are receiving the care they require with regional and rural areas the most lacking. “Government support is critical so we can provide equal access to healthcare for all Australian communities,” says A/Prof Francis.
Another issue brought to attention is that it is vital to ensure that Australia has enough practicing dermatologists to treat all patients needing care. The ACD says in order for this to happen there needs to be more outreach services and funding to public hospitals specifically for dermatology services and training.
To read the full media release or to find out more head to the ACD website. You can also find out more about various skin conditions, suggested treatments and support group links on their website.