Commissioners accused of ignoring footcare guidance
Commissioners and policy makers are ignoring guidance set out by the healthcare advisory body NICE, a report has stated.
The College of Podiatry has published a document which has concluded that people are missing out on vital care from specialist podiatry services that could significantly improve long term health outcomes and enhance their lives.
Entitled ‘Podiatry: Driving Value, Improving Outcomes’, the report describes how people with diabetes are missing out on vital footcare that could save not only their limbs but also their lives. This is, despite a recommendation that those with diabetes at moderate or high risk of developing a foot ulcer should be referred to a podiatry foot protection service, a third of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) do not even commission a Foot Protection Service, which offers those at risk a tailored care package in order to reduce their risk.
The report seeks to highlight the need for podiatry services to be recognised, valued, strengthened and utilised in order to help reduce the strain on our over-stretched health service, and help both the NHS and government deliver their early intervention and prevention health agendas.
The college stresses that both the government and the NHS need to take more notice of NICE guidance where it refers to podiatry services.
Steve Jamieson, chief executive at the College of Podiatry, said: “NICE guidelines exist for a reason. They are developed to provide healthcare providers with sound evidence-based advice on best and cost-effective practice. The report shows that expert services such as podiatry are being sidelined, against NICE advice, and we believe that healthcare providers and policy makers need to recognise the role of podiatry in supporting their prevention and early intervention public health agendas, and take NICE guidance more seriously.
“Ignoring NICE guidance and side-lining expert services such as podiatry is a false economy and can result in problems escalating unnecessarily, costing patients and the health service dearly.”
Foot and lower limb health is an important factor in the overall wellbeing of the population, and there is strong evidence to support early podiatric intervention to improve the mobility and independence of all people who experience foot health problems.
Mr Jamieson added: “We need to see a change in the way care is provided to people with a whole range of lower limb conditions. Best practice is not about reinventing the wheel, it is about adopting good ideas. This report sets out the simple measures that could make the difference in three areas that impose a huge cost burden on the NHS across the UK and ruin countless lives.
“By not making better use of their existing resources, healthcare leaders are missing an opportunity to save money, make our health and social care system ready for the challenges of the coming decades and improve patient outcomes.”