Affect & Resect

Health Informatics & Transformation of Surgical Service Delivery

It is estimated that 569,000 people are living with a facial disfigurement in the United Kingdom” (Changing Faces, 2017).

AFFECT: Assessing the burden of facial scarring and associated mental health conditions to identify patients at greatest risk

The face is essential for social interaction and is considered the most important physical feature in formulating our perception of identity. In a society which is pre-occupied with appearance and the pursuit of a “perfect” body image, the consequences of facial scarring can be extensive and may include the onset of psychosocial disorders. It is therefore important that we establish the prevalence of facial scarring and its consequences – including psychosocial impacts – both on a societal and individual patient level, so that effective healthcare strategies can be developed and appropriately targeted. To do this we will analyse data that is recorded routinely on all patients when they attend hospital or their general practitioner. The data is held securely in a specialised database, and fully anonymised so that it can be used safely for research. Analysing this data will help us define the incidence of affective disorders and risk factors within this cohort. It is intended that this research will improve the awareness of affective disorders within this cohort and provide justification for improved psychological services.

RESECT: Developing recommendations for service redesign in skin cancer management

The number of patients in Wales that develop skin cancer is increasing, placing a large demand on the NHS. As plastic surgeons, we have observed that this increased demand on healthcare services has led to unnecessary delays in diagnosis and treatment, which has in turn had a negative impact on patient outcomes. In order to improve the care we offer patients, health services in the area of skin cancer need to be reconfigured. The aim of this project is to establish a comprehensive national overview of the nature and state of care currently provided to skin cancer patients across Wales. We also need to know how common skin cancer is in the Welsh population and how to identify those at risk of developing it. We need to investigate difficulties in accessing care, such as distance for patients to travel, and quantify the cost of care, both to the health service and to patients. It is also important that we ask patients what they think is good and bad about their treatment, using specially designed questionnaires. It is anticipated that by identifying the population at risk, and by highlighting disparities in care and unnecessary treatment while identifying best practice where it is evident, we will be in a position to make recommendations for re-designing a service that is safer, more effective, more convenient and more cost efficient.