Ireland has a major shortage of consultant dermatologists to treat the increasing number of skin cancer patients.
At least one dermatologist is needed for every 62,500 patients in order for an effective service to be operational.
Skin cancer rates have increased to more than 10,000 cases annually for the first time in Ireland.
The Irish Cancer Society urged the public to protecting the skin from harmful UV rays this summer, by wearing sunscreen and covering up.
“Dermatology clinics lack spare capacity; there is little or no room to cope with predictable eventualities such as illness and maternity leave,” said David McMahon, head of advocacy with the Irish Skin Foundation (ISF).
“With year-on-year increases in referrals, policy makers must do more to address the issues affecting services or patients will experience even longer waiting times, delayed diagnosis and treatment”.
The Medical Independent reported that the ISF was particularly concerned at situations where a patient has a suspected melanoma.
“However, people with psoriasis, eczema, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and other skin diseases experience life-limiting effects, serious co-morbidities and also deserve timely access to dermatology services,” Mr McMahon said.
Anyone who is concerned should make an appointment with their GP or call the ISF Helpline for advice on (01) 486-6280.