SDLP Assembly Member for South Down, Margaret Ritchie, has welcomed the prioritisation and funding for podiatry services from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
Miss Ritchie said, “ Podiatry services play an essential role in the health and well being of communities. Services range from essential nail cutting and routine podiatry procedures to advanced, specialist podiatric surgery.
The footprint of podiatry services in Northern Ireland can be seen right across the health service with interventions helping people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and vascular impairment to keep walking. The benefits of good podiatry care cannot be measured in economic terms.
Given this, representations were made by me to the Department of Health to ensure that appropriate provision is made for podiatry services with the health budget. I am pleased that following these representations the valuable role played by podiatrists is being recognised.
Non recurrent funding has been allocated from the 08/09 and 09/10 budget to ensure patients have timely access to chiropody and podiatry services. With effect from 2010/11, recurrent funding will also be available.
Furthermore, I am pleased that in addition to this, senior Trust Allied Health Professionals are working with the Department of Health to reform and modernise all services including podiatry. The Department will also be completing a value for money audit to examine podiatry services including demand, capacity and access to services.
I fully welcome these measures which recognise the specialist discipline of podiatry and the far reaching effects of its services in the community.”