The Irish medical profession is often known for being a relatively new and diverse field.
But this year marks a very significant milestone for the profession as it looks set to see a surge in new applicants, according to the National Council of Dermatology (NCD).
In 2016, there were only 963 dermatologists and their clinical expertise.
But that figure is set to jump to more than 13,000 by 2021, with an estimated 10,000 more people likely to apply.
“We are very pleased with the increase in our clinical capacity,” said Dr Máirín O’Sullivan, the NCD’s president.
“The number of dermatologists will be around 9,000, and we anticipate that this number will rise further in the coming years.
We are also seeing an increasing number of people seeking a dermatology appointment.
This is encouraging because it will allow us to provide our patients with the best possible service and expertise.”
NCD chief executive officer Dr Dermot O’Connell welcomed the increase.
“With the recent announcement of the introduction of a new clinical appointment format, it is a good time for the Irish medical professionals to reflect on the progress they have made in their profession,” he said.
“It is clear that the demand for our services has increased and this is a positive development.
We have a lot to do and a lot of hard work to do to improve our position.
The NCD has also been in touch with dermatologists to gauge their interest in entering the field, with some dermatologists keen to work with patients.”
They have been very interested in the NCC’s role and we look forward to working with them to make sure that we have a strong network of dermatology practitioners that will be able to serve their patients well in the future,” Dr O’Donnell said.
It’s a sign that the dermatological profession is slowly becoming more relevant to the wider Irish medical landscape.
In recent years, the number of primary care dermatologists has increased by about one per cent.
There were 732 primary care doctors and 4,000 registered nurse practitioners in 2016, but this figure is expected to grow to more like 9,500 by 2021.
More than half of dermatologist appointments are now done in the office, compared to just 37 per cent in 2007.
A lot has changed in dermatology in recent years.
The NCD recently launched a new online platform to provide the services of dermatography to patients and their families.
According to Dr OConnell, it has made a real difference.”
There are now dermatologists who can prescribe the skin-care products that they use and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
And there are now more than 30 dermatologists with full time clinical experience and some of them have full time postgraduate qualifications,” he explained.
Dr O’Dwyer said that there was also an increase in the number and quality of dermatological imaging and dermatology services being provided by the dermatologists in Ireland.””
This is not only a good thing, it’s a good example for people to go and see a dermatologists office to find out how to use their skin care products.
Dr O’Dwyer said that there was also an increase in the number and quality of dermatological imaging and dermatology services being provided by the dermatologists in Ireland.”
A lot of our patients who come in to see us are asking us to do things that are not seen in other parts of the world, and they ask us to help them with that,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Ciarán Bresnan, from the Centre for Research on Dermatopathies, said that in Ireland, there was a shortage of qualified doctors.
Currently, there are around 6,500 dermatologists practicing in Ireland with a projected increase of about 500.
Mr Bresnans comments echo Dr ODonnell’s comments.”
People want to have a dermatological assessment and they want a dermatopathologist who can do that.
I think the medical profession needs to develop a good relationship with dermatopathology in order to make the transition to the new medical model,” he concluded.
While dermatologists are busy providing their patients with great service, they have also been busy training the next generation of doctors.
In addition to training the young, the NCD is also offering free training to all students to ensure that they are prepared for their careers as doctors.