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Dermatology services in Rochester, Lordswood or Parkwood will close in October

By Amy Nickalls

Patients using community dermatology services will have to travel to Strood after plans to close three clinics have been revealed.

Medway Community Healthcare will no longer provide the services in Rochester, Lordswood or Parkwood.

Dermatology helps patients suffering with skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, acne and solar keratosis.

A doctor.. (4161332)
A doctor.. (4161332)

Stuart Jeffery, chief operating officer for Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, said: “From Wednesday, October, 31 Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) will no longer provide the nurse-led community dermatology service.

“MCH gave notice to Medway CCG that it wished to terminate its contract to provide dermatology services at clinics in Rochester, Lordswood and Parkwood.

“We have been working with Sydenham Health – the other provider of community dermatology in Medway – to ensure they can provide care for patients who would have been referred to MCH.

Stuart Jeffery has addressed concerns
Stuart Jeffery has addressed concerns

“The service is provided at [the Gun Lane Medical Centre] in Strood but patient transport will be provided for those who need it to get to the clinic.”

The decision has been called “reprobate” by one man who uses the service in Parkwood.

David Durell, 84, of Wigmore Road, goes to the clinic every three months as part of his treatment for keratosis.

He said: “I don’t know if I need treatment or not. It’s a benign condition but can become malignant if it’s not monitored.

Dermatology services will remain open at Gun Lane Medical Centre
Dermatology services will remain open at Gun Lane Medical Centre

“The nurse sometimes sprays the affected area with liquid nitrogen, but I don’t know if my GP can do that. I’m a bit miffed. It’s very convenient to walk there and they are very good for treating people. It’s a bit of a reprobate decision. There’s a long waiting list at the hospital – my wife’s still waiting to be seen since she was referred in April.”

The decision has also been criticised by health campaigner Steve Wilkins, who said it’s another sign of NHS cuts. He said: “They say they are making things better but it’s all about cuts.”

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