Referral Guidelines Surrey Heath

GP Information

Referral Guidelines for Surrey Heath CCG

The Surrey Dermatology service is able to provide a comprehensive dermatology service to patients referred with a skin rash or skin lesion. However there are a few exceptions to this, which have been pre-agreed with commissioning teams. We preferentially accept referrals by e-Referral Service and our contact details can all be found at the bottom of this page.

Please contact us on 01903 703 276 if you wish to clarify any particular issue with regards to a referral.

Skin Rash Referrals

We are more than happy to see patients with skin rashes or general skin problems in our community dermatology clinics.



Wherever possible, mild/moderate skin rashes should be treated within primary care and only referred:

  1. If standard tretment fails to treat the problem
  2. If there is any doubt about the underlying diagnosis


The following should be referred urgently to a hospital department rather than a community clinic:

  • Acute widespread pustular psoriasis (>70% body surface area)
  • Generalised erythroderma (>70% body surface area)
  • Severe drug reactions
  • Server erythema multiforme/Steven’s Johnson Syndrome
  • Severe bullous pemphigoid (>30 blisters)
  • Moderate/Severe Vasculitis (systemic symptoms/necrotic skin lesions)

An urgent referral to a dermatology department is considered more appropriate for theses categories of patients. Most NHS Trust als opearte an on-call service for advice. All other cases may be referred urgently to the community service and will generally be triaged to a Consultant or combined Consultant/GPwSPI clinic.

EXCEPTIONS: Skin Rashes to be managed in Primary Care

Examples of skin rashes that should be routinely managed in primary care include the following:

  • Mild/moderate acne not requiring Isotretinoin (Roaccutane)
  • Mild/moderate childhood atopic eczema
  • Mild discoid eczema, xerosis, or generalised pruritus
  • Plaque psoriasis confined to discrete areas
  • Recurrent bacterial infections/tinea including pityriasis versicolor
  • Urticaria/angioedema
  • Alopecia areata (please refer if there is diagnostic doubt or if there is a significant psychological impact to the patient’s quality of life – advice and guidance referrals also welcome as many treatments available in primary care)
  • Androgenic alopecia
  • Hirsutism
  • Leg ulcers – we can only see patients in the community service to exclude basal cell carcinoma or Bowen’s Disease
  • Any suspected SCC should be referred urgently on a 2-week proforma to seconday care

Skin Lesion Referrals

We are more than happy to see patients with skin lesions, includin Basal Cell Carcinoma. Any referral letter must state that referral is warranted because of diagnostic doubt or medical symptoms. Under these circumstances we can accept and treat patients in the community service.


We can see patients with skin lesions provided that any of the following conditions apply:

  1. Skin lesions where there is a diagnostic doubt and a referral is warranted to exclude a skin cancer or underlying inflammatory process
  2. Basal Cell Carcinoma (Low-Risk triaged to GPwSPI doctors and High-Risk to Consultants)
  3. Bening skin lesions that cause acute servere symptoms which interfere with quality of life

Examples would include:

  • A recurrent discharging cyst
  • Recurrent bleeding from a vascular angioma
  • Recurrent infection/bleeding from an irritated seborrhoeic keratoses


Any patients with suspected squamous cell carcinoma or malignant melanoma should be referred directly int two-week referral clinics.
Referrals should be made using the standard two week proforma forms. If we receive a referral in error then we will upgrade the referral and send it on to the local hospital as an urgent referral. Under theses circumstances, we will let both the GP and the patient know that this course of action has been considered necessary.

EXCEPTIONS: Benign Skin Lesions & Low Priority Procedures

Asymptomatic benign lesions should be considered cosmetic and the patient should be either advised that treatment is not routinely available via the NHS. NHS funding has become more targeted in recent years and there are a range of treatments and procedures that we are unable to fund including the following:

  • Viral warts – All referrals for viral warts will be rejected, as funding does not cover this.
  • Acne scarring
  • Chemical peels
  • Dermabrasion of skin
  • Electrolysis
  • Hirsutism treatments
  • Botulinum toxin therapy for hyperhidrosis
  • Laser therapy/laser treatment for aesthetic reasons
  • Laser tattoo removal
  • Laser hair removal
  • Removal of benign asymptomatic skin lesions ( Includes papillomas, seborrhoeic keratosis, lipomas and sebaceous cysts)

Surrey Dermatology Service
Administration Office, Worthing Skin Clinic, 51 Chesswood Road, Worthing. BN11 2AA

GP Hotline: 01903 703 276
GP Referral Fax: 01903 340 849