Ir Med J. 2020 Mar 13;113(3):38.
Aim To compare the relative efficiencies of skin excisions in primary and secondary care. Methods We compared the benign: malignant ratio for specimens referred by General Practice, General Surgery and the Skin Cancer Service to the regional pathology laboratory over one month. We used cost minimization analysis to compare the relative efficiencies of the services. Results 620 excisions were received: 139 from General Practice, 118 from General Surgery and 363 from the Skin Cancer Service. The
number (%) of malignant lesions was 13 (9.4%) from General Practice, 18 (15.2%) from General Surgery and 137 (37.7%) from the Skin Cancer Service. Excision was cheaper in General Practice at €84.58 as compared to €97.49 in the hospital day surgical unit. However, the cost per malignant lesion excised was €1779.80 in general practice versus €381.78 in the Skin Cancer Service. Conclusion Our results indicate that moving skin cancer treatment to General Practice may result in an excess of benign excisions and therefore be both less efficient and less cost effective.