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Specialist revitalises Townsville dermatology service

Published:  22 February 2021

A new specialist trainee has continued the revitalisation of Townsville University Hospital’s dermatology service with expanded services for children and adults set to follow in the coming weeks.

Dr Jacqueline Deen began as Townsville University Hospital’s first accredited dermatology registrar for several years, returning to North Queensland after graduating from James Cook University as a medical student.

Dr Deen said she had loved life in North Queensland and was looking forward to making a positive impact in the community.

“Living in Queensland puts us right in the melanoma capital of the world, so it is important to have an accessible dermatology service,” she said.

“It is a really great opportunity to be a dermatology registrar in regional Australia because you see such a mix of unique presentations which is invaluable experience.

“One of my first jobs as part of the team here will be to assist with the expansion of services, including new specialist clinics for adult patients and a weekly clinic dedicated to children with skin problems.”

Dermatology staff specialist Dr Aaron Boyce said the team was committed to providing specialist dermatology services to the people of North Queensland.

“In our service we care for both adults and kids with the full range of skin diseases,” he said.

“Our focus is directed primarily towards more complex and severe skin conditions that are difficult to manage in general practice.

“With Dr Deen’s arrival the service will be looking to offer expanded specialist services particularly for people with sever acne and eczema.

“Establishing a secure workforce of dermatology specialists in regional Australia has been a longstanding problem but with the return of dermatology registrars to Townsville University Hospital we are closer to ensuring our community has specialist care it needs.”

People seeking advice on their skin conditions should first visit their GP and if a specialist is required, they will be referred to Townsville University Hospital.

“GPs are very good at managing most skin conditions, however, for more complex and stubborn conditions, we’re here to help,” Dr Boyce said.

Head of James Cook University’s Townsville Clinical School, Professor Tarun Sen Gupta said having a local graduate progress to working in the local public health system was a huge win.

”Dermatology is one of a number of specialty areas that have long been underserved in regional Queensland,” he said.

“While general practitioners have many skills in this area, a specialist dermatology service is essential for complex cases.

“JCU is delighted to see new training posts being developed and filled by local graduates. This is further proof that the JCU model of regional training works, and is bringing positive workforce outcomes for regional, rural and remote Australian communities.”

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