Welcome to NHS Scotland's Dermatology Patient Pathways

Written by the Dermatology Collaborative

The Dermatology Patient Pathways provide an accessible resource intended to support Primary Care practitioners in Scotland in the diagnosis and management of patients presenting with common skin conditions. A brief illustrated description of each skin condition is followed by treatment recommendations and links to sources of additional information for both doctor and patient. Criteria for referral to Dermatology are included, highlighting red-flag presentations that merit expedited referral, or identifying certain treatments can only be initiated in Secondary Care.

The Pathways have been revised and expanded thanks to the contributions of doctors from Dermatology and Primary Care attending several Dermatology Collaborative meetings as part of the national DOIT (Delivering Outpatients Integration Together) Programme of the Directorate for Health Performance and Delivery, Scottish Government. Originally published in 2005 by the Dermatology Pathways Development Group for the Centre for Change and Innovation, the pathways were updated by the Dermatology Task and Finish Group as part of work to support 18 weeks Referral to Treatment in 2011. We wish to acknowledge the contribution of many doctors and nurses across primary and Secondary Care in Scotland who have been involved in the development of each version.

We hope you will find the revised Pathways helpful, reflecting expert opinion and good practice recommendations. The pathways, however, are not intended to be a comprehensive overview with a deliberate focus on treatments available to prescribe in Primary Care. It may be necessary or even desirable to depart from the treatment recommendations in the interests of specific patients and special circumstances. Just as adherence to a national pathway may not constitute defence against a claim of negligence, so deviation from them should not necessarily be deemed negligent.

Hosted by NHS Education Scotland, app versions of the pathways are available via iTunes and Google Play. The current pathways are endorsed by the Scottish Dermatology Society who will co-ordinate updates to the Pathways. Observations including any erroneous or misleading content should be reported to: assistant secretary SDS at:

Download from the App Store
Download from Google Play

C.A. Morton, Chair
F. MacDonald, Clinical Lead
Dermatology Collaborative
November 2016