News in brief: Three year wait for dermatology appointments; Acne burden is more than skin deep; 3 Australian medical schools among best in world

Tuesday, 26 Jul 2022

Three year wait for dermatology appointments

Some patients in South Australia are waiting almost three years for a dermatology appointment in public hospitals, according to latest outpatient wait time report released by SA Health.

The figures show that for the reporting period up to 31 March 2022 the maximum wait times for dermatology appointments ranged from eight months at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) to 34 months at Flinders Medical Centre.

Maximum wait times at other hospitals were 28 months at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and 17 months at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The median waiting times ranged from 0.2 months at RAH to around 11 months at Flinders Medical Centre.

Wait times have improved somewhat since 2019 when some patients had to wait 52 months to see a dermatologist.

Chief medical officer, Dr Michael Cusack said there had been several programs to reduce waiting lists for outpatient appointment, including asking GPs to audit all patients who have been waiting three years or longer in an effort to clear the backlog, a focus on alternative care pathways and putting patients back in GP care after an specialist consultation, rather than clogging the system with ongoing outpatient reviews.

There are also moves to develop centralised waiting lists to address variances in waiting times between hospitals, the Advertiser reports.

Acne burden is more than skin deep

Acne has substantial psychological effects on patients as well as negative effects on their personal and professional life, a US study that assessed ‘live experience of 56 people with facial and truncal acne and acne scars.

When asked to describe how acne affected them personally, the participants reported a major psychological burden with emotional impairment and poor self-esteem, as well as the social stigma associated with their skin condition.

People with acne also reported a burden of chronic physical symptoms such as pain and irritation, and also the treatment burden from having to take oral medication or apply skin creams and lotions.

However, despite these important effects, acne is still often viewed as merely a cosmetic issue, and there is also a common misperception that acne is only a disease of adolescence that will spontaneously resolve, according to dermatologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, writing in a paper in JAMA Dermatology.

3 Australian medical schools among best in world

Three Australian universities have been placed in the top 50 rankings for academic excellence in clinical medicine.

Melbourne University was ranked at 14 in the prestigious ShanghaiRanking (formerly Academic Ranking of World Universities or ARWU) Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, with Sydney University being placed at 27 and the University of Western Australia at 32.

The top rankings were dominated by US universities, with Harvard University, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Cambridge University (UK), University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University being the top five ranked institutions.

Other Australian universities appeared lower in the global rankings, including Monash and the University of NSW in the 51-75 ranking range and the University of Adelaide and the University of Queensland in the 76-100 range.

Universities are measured on research output, influence and quality, as well as international collaboration and the number of international academic awards.

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