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A step forward for podiatry care in Cambridgeshire

23/09/15

Following concerns about inconsistencies in access to podiatry care, Healthwatch Cambridgeshire stepped in.

images of feet

We spoke to Healthwatch Cambridgeshire to find out more.

What made you investigate this issue?

A number of people raised concerns about their experiences accessing podiatry care on the NHS. When we took a closer look at this, we found inconsistencies about who could receive care and what the threshold was across the country. In particular, information on entitlement for people with ‘moderate podiatry needs’ was unclear, resulting in it being applied differently and according to local interpretation.

What did people tell you?

We heard from people on low incomes and people with diabetes to say they were being charged for podiatry care when they didn’t think they should be. For people with diabetes, they were concerned that podiatry services were only free when their foot health had deteriorated, rather than focusing on preventative care. We also heard from people who are housebound and unable to access services.

What happened as a result?

We raised these issues with the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who looked at the policy and agreed that it was inconsistent and needed updating. They have since published an updated policy that clarifies who would be considered as having ‘moderate podiatry needs’, making it easier for people to understand what services they are able to access.                                                                                                    

The CCG has agreed that:

  • podiatry services should be commissioned on a standard basis, with equality of access for all
  • free services from CCG podiatry commissioned services should be available where there is a high or moderate medical and podiatric risk up to the end of the treatment episode
  • routine foot care where there is no high or moderate risk should not be provided by the CCG, and should be funded by the patient.

These changes mean that care will be more consistent across the county, and people will be clearer on whether they’re entitled to free podiatry care.

If you have concerns about podiatry services in your area, get in touch with your local Healthwatch.

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