By William Graves
There are many long-term health conditions that require regular treatment. Often, this treatment is conducted within hospital and patients need to attend frequently in order to stay well. We understand the difficulties these patients face. It’s hard to juggle a busy lifestyle whilst making sure you get the care you need, and that’s why we’ve introduced a number of innovative services intended to make accessing care as convenient as possible.
Phototherapy, or ‘light therapy’, is commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo and dermatitis, especially where alternative treatments (i.e. topical creams) have been ineffective. The patient enters a vertical, walk-in unit and ultraviolet (UV) rays are emitted from special bulbs onto exposed skin for around three minutes. Protection is provided to guard sensitive areas, including goggles to protect the eyes.
'All of the staff are very friendly and the service is located in a suitable place, easy to find and parking isn't a problem. The building itself is very comfortable and very welcoming.' Lyndsay, NHS Choices, May 2019
Whilst the treatment reduces inflammation of the skin, effectively treating various inflammatory skin disorders, this is usually temporary and not a cure. The treatment schedule varies from two to three times a week and an average course lasts between 15 and 30 treatments. There is no limit to the number of treatments patients may have over their lifetime and the commitment to this long-term care can impact on daily life.
We want to minimise the impact of phototherapy on the lives of patients who require it and are working with our community dermatology service commissioners in Stoke on Trent and North and South Staffordshire to achieve this. Since December 2015, we’ve been conducting phototherapy in the community, seeing patients who would have frequently had to travel to hospital for their treatment more locally.
Conducting phototherapy within the community is perfectly safe and the service now commissioned in these areas enables patients to be seen at a time and location that suits their ‘work-a-day’ lifestyle. Our clinics run out of hours and at local health centres, omitting the need for patients to take time out of their day, travel long distances and pay for parking to attend their appointment. Our clinicians are experts in carrying out phototherapy and will guide you through the procedure with the help of our reassuring Patient Care Assistants (PCAs)
Women undergoing phototherapy treatment.
'Excellent service and location. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Much better than having to attend the main hospital.' Richard, NHS Choices, April 2019.
As an organisation that places such an emphasis on patient satisfaction, we’re delighted with the positive response received and are excited to work with our commissioners to introduce further innovative healthcare solutions that improve the patient experience.
If you have any questions about our phototherapy service, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0121 454 7779 or send us a message via our contact us page.