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									Enclosure 6 Birmingham Specialist Community Health NHS Trust - Podiatry Department


1. Why do things have to change?
Over recent years there has been a trend across the whole country for more patients to be referred for foot care than ever before. The Podiatry department receives approximately 850 new referrals each month. Because of the number of patients already receiving ongoing treatment, only the most urgent of these new patients can be seen. As a result the waiting time for new patients to be seen has been gradually increasing. In some centres it is nearly four years! FACT: On 4th January 2002 a diabetic patient was seen for the first time after being referred by her doctor on 8 th December 1999. The condition of many patients’ feet deteriorates while they are waiting to be seen. This must not be allowed to continue.

2. What are we trying to achieve?
We are hoping to create a Foot Health Service where patients who are most in need of treatment receive it quickly and easily. We will aim to provide a comprehensive foot service to clients with the greatest clinical and medical need, and specialist services to those considered to be “high risk”. We want to provide prompt assessment of individual foot health requirements linked to a treatment plan and contract of care. Wherever possible we will aim to provide clients and their carers with information to empower them to maintain their own foot health.

Enclosure 6 Birmingham Specialist Community Health NHS Trust - Podiatry Department

In future treatment will be given to both existing and newly referred patients where it is considered that their medical needs require professional footcare.

3. How will we reach these goals?
All current patients will be seen and their needs assessed to take into account both their foot and medical problems. In future treatment will be given only to those people considered to have health needs requiring professional foot care. New referrals will be checked before treatment is offered and only those with real health needs will be seen.

4. When will these changes be introduced?
There is never a good time to introduce changes like these, but those who are waiting for treatment would say, “The sooner the better!” All existing patients will be assessed at their next appointment. They will be told of the outcome and will then receive written confirmation of whether they will continue to receive treatment. There will be the option to appeal against the decision. Those who do appeal will be re-assessed by another Podiatrist. Any further concerns you may have can be discussed with a member of the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Alternatively you may wish to make a formal complaint. This can be done through the Trust complaint procedure. Your PALS representative will be able to advise you on this matter.

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