A top doctor has defended GPs, saying the treatment they provide for skin cancer is "excellent."

Dr Shane Gordon, chief executive of the Colchester practice-based commissioning group, was responding to a report by the British Association of Dermatologists which alleged some surgery to remove skin cancers was not being carried out properly.

The report said a study of GPs across the country showed 46 per cent of skin cancers in Essex were not removed completely, meaning another procedure was needed.

Dr Gordon said GPs would only treat lower-risk cancers - known as basal cell carcinomas (BCC) - which would not put patients at risk.

He said if a GP suspected a patient had a serious skin cancer, such as melanoma, they would be referred urgently to the hospital.

He said: "It is difficult to diagnose whether a skin lesion is actually cancerous until a biopsy has been done.

"These are low-risk cancers which are not the type that spread to other places in the body.

"I don't think there are any GPs out there who are deliberately removing high-risk skin cancers like melanoma."

Dr Gordon said he personally carries out about 100 procedures in a year and he explained waiting lists would soon build up if every patient with a skin lesion was sent to the hospital without checking to see if it was cancerous.

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