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J Accid Emerg Med. 1994 Sep;11(3):158-61.

An audit of dermatology in a paediatric accident and emergency department.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Northern Ireland.


Two studies were undertaken of patients with dermatological disorders who attended the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children during 1990-1991. The aims were to review diagnostic accuracy and assess the benefits of an open-access consultant dermatology clinic. A retrospective survey of 14,340 new attendances at the A&E department over a 7-month period found that 540 of these (4%) had a primary dermatological disorder. In 26% no diagnosis had been made although only 10% were referred for a specialist opinion. A 2-month prospective study of patients who attended the department and were referred to a consultant dermatology open-access clinic revealed overall diagnostic accuracy of 66% (+/- 2 SEM). Individual rates of diagnostic concordance between junior doctor and consultant were 59% for skin infections and 77% for papulosquamous disorders. The open-access clinic allowed prompt referral for correct diagnosis and initiation of appropriate management.

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