Royal London Hospital
The psychodermatology service at The Royal London Hospital was established in 2002 when Dr Ruth Taylor was appointed as Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at what was then Barts and the London NHS Trust.
She together with Dr Anthony Bewley, a consultant Dermatologist already employed by the Trust, set up the clinic as there was such huge demand for a psychodermatology service, and because there were very few hospitals across the UK who were meeting the need of patients.
Initially the service ran twice a month, but in a very short space of time, it became necessary to expand capacity as demand was so extensive. The service is very much a multidisciplinary team with:
Dr Anthony Bewley
Consultant Dermatologist, Barts Health, and Hon Sen Lecturer, Queen Mary College of Medicine, University of London
Dr Ruth Taylor
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist NELMH, and Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary College of Medicine, University of London
As well as Specialist Registrars in Dermatology and Psychiatry, Psychologists and Nurses
We also often liaise with other colleagues, for example Dr Bergit Westphal, Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Details of our service
In our service:
We see patients with psychodermatological disease such as Body Dysmorphic Disease and Trichotillomania
We see patients with difficult diseases which have not been fully established (such as Morgellons Disease)
We see patients with dermatological disease which has concomitant psycho-social co-morbidities (such as anxiety / depression or even suicidal ideation as part of living with a difficult skin condition
We see any age of patient and with any disability
In our service, Drs Taylor and Bewley see patients together for approximately half of new consultations (Dr Bewley will see patients for any other consultations either by himself or with other members of the team).
The service has become nationally recognised and has seen referrals from as far away as Cornwall and Scotland, though Drs Bewley and Taylor are explicit that it is much preferable for patients to be seen in, at least, regional psychodermatology services. To this end, Drs Bewley chaired an All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGOS), both of whom issued reports indicating that provision of psychodermatology services should be at least regionally available across the UK.
We are actively involved in research and undertake a variety of research projects in all aspects of psychocutaneous medicine. We also run the annual Barts Health Psychodermatology Course (annually) and we are about the set up an ‘advanced psychodermatology course’ for consultants in 2016. Finally we have links with a variety of international organisations including ESDaP and APMNA.