NHS plan foot care rationing to cut waiting times - Brake and Burstow

November 19, 2007 1:54 PM

Plans to ration access to chiropody and podiatry services will leave hundreds of older people stranded and living in pain say local MPs Tom Brake and Paul Burstow. The borough's two MPs met last week (Friday 16th Nov) with local NHS bosses to discuss complaints from constituents about excessive waiting times for treatment.

The MPs were told that the local PCT could not afford to invest in the Podiatry service to bring it up to the standard recommended by Age Concern. Instead local plans have been drawn up to ration access to the service to those with 'significant foot health need'.

Already as a result of rationing nearly a thousand people have been dropped from the PCTs footcare service. PCT bosses say they want more people to cut their own toe nails as part of what they call an 'empowerment model'.

Commenting Paul Burstow MP said, "Waiting times of five months or more for foot care are unacceptable. But rationing access to shorten the queue is not the right answer.

"There is a very real danger here that vulnerable older people will miss out on essential foot care. The risk is that people are left to suffer in pain, become housebound and disabled and at worst those with diabetes end up having to have amputations."

Tom Brake MP said, "Good foot care can make a huge difference to people's quality of life. Simply axing a thousand people from the waiting list is not right. Leaving vulnerable people to fend for themselves is a terrible false economy."

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