07 September 2017

The Trust is changing the way that we deliver the podiatry service to ensure that patients who have the greatest need for podiatry have access when they need it. This will mean that some patients will no longer be eligible for NHS podiatry services in Tower Hamlets.

The Foot Health Service provides care and treatment for a range of foot and lower limb problems. The team is formed of podiatrists and trained foot care assistants working together to provide advice and clinical expertise for patients experiencing foot problems. Currently, the service diagnoses and treats a wide range of health problems affecting people’s feet and lower legs. This can include in-growing toenails, sports injuries, foot ulcers, severe sepsis, severe foot deformities or functional problems.

Why changes are being made
We recognise that the NHS is highly valued by patients and is hugely important to the public. It does however mean that the NHS and its services need to change overtime to meet the needs of everyone now and in the future. Demands for the podiatry services in Tower Hamlets are growing and by making the changes we believe we can ensure that local health needs are met both now and in the future.

People who have foot health needs such as verrucae, corns, nail cutting and do not have underlying health issues will no longer be seen by the podiatry service in Tower Hamlets.

Prioritising high risk patients
The service needs to support those with the greatest clinical need. Patients who have conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid conditions and peripheral sensory or arterial disease have an increased risk of developing foot complications.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that foot care services related to long term conditions should be available on the NHS. Tower Hamlets commission services based on the latest clinical guidance from NICE.

These changes mean that more clinical time would be available for patients who need it the most. Under the new service model, high risk patients will receive a comprehensive and targeted service. Access to regular appointments will ensure that foot problems are detected early on and prevent the development of further complications or need for further invasive surgery.

We are improving the service
These changes will improve the service for patients who need regular access to routine assessment. We will:

  1. Reduce waiting times
  2. See patients who are at risk more regularly
  3. Provide a more specialist podiatry service and greater clinical time
  4. Provide better support and information empowering patients to care for their own feet and prevent future problems.
  5. Centralise service into one hub, integrating teams and resources together into one location.
  6. The new service model will reduce number of patients who do not attend

 

People who will receive an assessment for NHS podiatry in Tower Hamlets
All patients who are referred to the service will receive an assessment if they meet the criteria. The service will treat:

  • Anyone with ‘at risk’ or ‘high risk’ feet
  • Patients who currently receive routine nail cutting but are high risk
  • People who are identified as being vulnerable
  • Those with serious issues that affect their foot health such as
  • Peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood supply to the foot)
  • Peripheral sensory neuropathy (reduced sensation in the feet)
  • Adult and children who require footwear will still be able to access the service
  • Previous foot ulcers
  • Significant foot deformity and abnormality assessment

 

People who will no longer receive podiatric services
Those who have low risk podiatric needs such as verrucae, dry skins, corns and fungal infections

  • Patients who have no health issues
  •  Patients who currently receive routine nail cutting but are low risk
  • People who have mobility issues which mean they have trouble reaching their feet but have no other medical or foot conditions
  •  Patients with biomechanical problems, musculosketal problems and sport injuries will no longer be seen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Feedback

If you would like to comment on the proposed changes, you can speak to the podiatrist that looks after your feet, you can leave a comment below or you can email communications@elft.nhs.uk if you would like us to respond to your in private.

You can also contact the Patient Advice Liaison Service by calling their freephone number: 0800 783 4839

Meeting

We will be holding a meeting for patients to come and talk about what the changes will mean for them. Or you can speak to your podiatrist at your next appointment.

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