Repeat visits to medical professionals for psoriasis

Everyone we talked to had seen doctors about psoriasis more than once, including getting a diagnosis. People didn’t always see the same doctor, sometimes because they had moved (such as going to university), chose not to or their GP was unavailable. Louie felt he had been “bounced around to all different GPs” but, since being referred, likes seeing the same dermatologist each time. A few continued to visit the same doctor throughout – Damini travels home from her university city to see her “family doctor [who] knows me better” than a new GP would.

Many people had been referred to dermatology at some point. Some hadn’t known at first that they could see a dermatologist, didn’t want to go onto “harsher” treatments yet or their GP refused to refer them. Adam remembers a time when his GP said his psoriasis wasn’t considered severe enough for a dermatology referral. Carys, whose psoriasis was severe when she was finally diagnosed, wishes she had been “a bit more pushy” with her GP about getting a dermatology appointment sooner.
Those who were referred found there can be a long waiting time. Louie was told to expect to wait six weeks but it ended up being four months.
Most people went to a general dermatology clinic, but some had been to a clinic specially run for children and young people (paediatric dermatology). Zara now attends a “teenage clinic which means that I only have to leave school about ten minutes earlier” and so she doesn’t miss out on classes as much.
Seeing doctors and having treatments was an ongoing part of having psoriasis for most people we talked to. Even if a treatment was successful, some still saw a dermatologist every few weeks or months as they knew it might return at any time. Simon highlighted that psoriasis is a chronic condition, meaning it’s likely to come and go over time. Zara sees her dermatologist every 3-4 months “just to discuss where we are and what option [of treatment] we’re going to look at next”. Phototherapy treatment can be demanding because it usually involves attending hospital several times a week for several weeks. Some treatments, like methotrexate and biological injections, require going for frequent blood tests. People mentioned that it can be frustrating going back to the doctors and trying treatments all the time, as well as:
  • expensive (prescriptions costs, private medical care, travel costs)
  • time-consuming and require time off school, university or work for appointments. Lucy had to take time off from her job for a dermatology appointment when her psoriasis was severe, but found her boss wasn’t very understanding.
Some people didn’t see a doctor frequently but would go if their psoriasis came back again. Damini’s flare-ups happen so quickly that she often doesn’t have time to make a GP appointment before it ‘takes over’.


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