Dedicated general practitioner education sessions can improve diagnostic capabilities and may have a positive effect on referral patterns for common skin lesions

  • Suzanne M. Beecher
  • Cillian Keogh
  • Claragh Healy
Original Article



General practitioners (GPs) require the necessary skills to identify potentially malignant skin lesions and refer patients in an appropriate and timely manner. We examined the impact of a single consultant delivered education session to GP trainees on their diagnosis of common skin lesions.


A prospective analysis of baseline knowledge was assessed using a photographic questionnaire. A dedicated education session was delivered by a consultant plastic surgeon. Their knowledge was re-assessed after 3 months.


There were 23 participants. Baseline ability to correctly diagnose skin lesions improved significantly at 3 months following dedicated teaching (baseline mean 30.2%, 3-month mean 65.9%, p = 0.001). All trainees recommended that dedicated skin education should be incorporated into GP training curricula.


Dedicated education sessions on skin lesions can improve the diagnostic accuracy of GP trainees, and we suggest that they are incorporated into the GP training curriculum.


Dermatology Education Family medicine General practitioner GP Plastic surgery Skin cancer Skin lesions Training 



Thank you to all the GP trainees who kindly participated in this study. We are grateful to their trainer, Dr. Frank O’Leary, for facilitating the education session. The authors would also like to thank Anthony Edwards, the clinical photographer, for performing the photography.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne M. Beecher
    • 1
  • Cillian Keogh
    • 1
  • Claragh Healy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plastic & Reconstructive SurgerySt. James’s HospitalDublin 8Ireland

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