New service to treat skin cancer

29th Sep 2023

A new £1.3 million facility housing specialist treatment for skin cancer with a near 100 per cent success rate will serve patients across Sandwell and West Birmingham. 

The new service, which is based at New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, will treat up to 200 patients a year including those who are under the care of Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

Using a specialised technique to remove high-risk skin cancers called Mohs Micrographic Surgery, the new facility will ensure patients receive this ‘gold standard’ form of treatment closer to home, resulting in better patient outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

The new facility welcomes adult patients with certain types of skin cancer at high-risk sites on the face or neck. Using Mohs surgery, the cancer is carefully mapped as it is removed. This technique carries a near 100 per cent success rate.

Henry Soulsby, Group Manager, Rheumatology, Dermatology and Sexual Health at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), said: “We’re proud and delighted to open this new service. It means local patients with this type of skin cancer can access timely services within the Black Country.

“This service has come about due to true partnership working between us all for the benefit of our patients, so we’re hugely grateful and thankful for the other Trusts.”

Consultant Dermatologist Dr Aaron Wernham, from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and RWT, said: “We’re very excited about this new development. Depending on demand, this service is likely to expand further in subsequent years.”

Diane Wake, Elective Care Lead for the BCPC, said: “The new facility is the result of the collaboration between all four local NHS Trusts.

“This partnership is designed to reduce inequality in health outcomes, ensure equal access to services and experience, and that specialisation and consolidation occur to provide better outcomes and value, and improve resilience by via mutual aid. This new service will ensure patients with skin cancer will get quicker access to the services they need.”

The new facility houses a satellite laboratory and multiple procedure rooms, while an existing recovery room will be upgraded.

The technique can also minimise the amount of normal tissue removed, which can, in some cases, overcome the need for more complex reconstructions. This can help reduce additional morbidity and cost to the healthcare service.

The facility has been introduced through the work of the Black Country Provider Collaborative (BCPC), a partnership between our Trust and RWT, Walsall Healthcare, and The Dudley Group Foundation Trust.

Ex-Goodyear workers are to fund some items of equipment for the new centre through their 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Charity.

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) national report for Dermatology in March 2021 recommends improving access to Mohs Surgery, and this development helps address this recommendation.


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