Southend-On-Sea has a population of 186,108 residents, of whom approximately 19% are actively suffering with painful foot conditions impacting on quality of life, mobility and even independence.
These painful conditions include ingrowing nails, thick and misshapen nails, skin lesions (i.e. hard skin, corns and cracked heels), fungal and bacterial infections of the skin & nails, verrucae, wounds & ulcers, as well as heel pain, forefoot pain, bunions, digital deformities, arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems.
With the high demand for Podiatry care on the NHS exceeding capacity, eligibility criteria for treatment has become very restricted; resulting in only those with acute and urgent limb threatening conditions being successfully referred to the NHS for assessment and/or treatment.
This unfortunately leaves thousands of Southend-On-Sea patients unable to access podiatry interventions through the NHS and having to seek podiatry care in the private sector for which routine fees with an HCPC Registered Podiatrist (excluding any medication or medicaments) range between £45-£65 an appointment, and nail surgery being between £245-£450 per nail removal in Southend-On-Sea.
The Office for National Statistics data however shows 54.4 per cent of households in Southend-On-Sea to be ‘deprived’ when the most recent census was carried out.
39% of Southend-on-Sea’s residents live in areas considered to be in the most deprived 30% in the country, with 9 neighbourhoods falling into the 10% most deprived in the country, making paying for podiatry care an impossibility for many who require podiatry treatments but do not meet the eligibility criteria for NHS care.
Data collected from Stat-Xplore (gov.uk) highlights the extent of financial struggle and deprivation in Southend-On-Sea. Latest statistics for some of the benefit claimants are outlined below:
Additionally, there are a recorded 1050 residents sleeping rough, staying on a friend's floor, sleeping in a squat or homeless, and 4620 children registered to be living in ‘absolute low income’ households with a further 6187 in ‘relative low income’ households. Within Southend-On-Sea, there are 14 neighbourhoods ranked as the most deprived 10% of the country for income deprivation affecting children.
Across all age groups, there are so many in need of foot care and interventions that are marginalised and unable to receive the foot care they urgently need. This impacts on physical and medical health, mental health, activities of daily living, mobility, quality of life, independence, isolation and so much more, placing individuals at risk of their foot condition worsening, more foot problems developing due to a lack of treatment or untimely intervention, increased pain, a risk of falling amongst the elderly, and so much more…
This Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision Proposal is seeking donations to raise an initial £120,000 by 1st September 2023 (which can then be reviewed depending on demand and uptake), so as to be able to offer urgently required podiatry advice, assessments, treatments, medication and minor surgery for a period of 6 months to those who are marginalised, vulnerable and in need of podiatry care.
Patients who are unable to access NHS podiatry for failing to meet the referral criteria, as well as patients for whom the waiting lists are so long, that immediate podiatric intervention is required so as to prevent potential limb threatening conditions from manifesting as a consequence of untimely treatment (i.e. ingrowing nails) all of whom are unable to afford independent podiatry would also be able to benefit from this Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision.
‘Podiatry’ or ‘Podiatric Medicine’ is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of disorders relating to the lower limbs and their associated structures. Podiatrists hold a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours in Podiatric Medicine and are medically trained specialists who assess, diagnose, and treat a wide and extensive range of lower limb conditions.
The principle goals and role of Podiatry care include:
With only just over 12,000 HCPC Registered Podiatrists in England and approximately 126 graduates a year, there is a desperate shortage of podiatrists both in the NHS and private sector. This puts the NHS podiatry services under great strain and staff shortages resulting in the need for strict referral criteria to cope with demand.
The ‘Southend Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust’ criteria for referral for Podiatry is restricted to:
- Foot problems relating to diabetes (moderate and high risk only)
- Significant circulatory disorders
- Individuals receiving Steroids, Chemotherapy or Anticoagulant Therapy
- Neurological Problems
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Wounds, ulcers & other ACUTE conditions including severe ingrowing nails
In spite of the strict referral criteria, current Southend Podiatry NHS appointment waiting times following successful referral are significant and can be seen below:
Patients for whom the NHS waiting lists are so long that podiatric intervention is required sooner so as to prevent potential limb threatening conditions from manifesting, as well as patients who are unable to access NHS podiatry for failing to meet the referral criteria; all of whom are unable to afford independent podiatry for their foot complaint, will be eligible to access the Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision for clinical advice, assessment, treatment and/or minor surgery following a referral from either their GP, Practice Nurse, other healthcare provider or via a local homeless shelter in Southend-On-Sea. All GP Surgeries and Homeless Shelters & Services will be made aware of our podiatry provision and the relevant referral criteria.
All donations received will solely be used to fund (for a period of 6 months) the Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision to cover costs including but not limited to:
Instruments Packs, Nail Surgery kits, Medication, Medicaments, Anaesthetics, Creams, Wound Packs, Wound & Ulcer Dressings, Polymer Gels, Silicones, Paddings, Socks, Clinical Sundries, Insoles, Orthotics, PPE, Autoclave Hire, Additional Clinical Equipment, Clinical Staff wages, Reception Staff wages, Clinic Space Rental, Electricity, Phone, Internet, Patient booking software, Electrical hardware & Stationary
Any donations remaining at the end of the 6-month period, will simply roll over offering the opportunity for the Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision to run for an extended duration, reaching more patients who require podiatric intervention but are unable to do so due to their financial situation.
With so many vulnerable people who are marginalised due to the constraints of the NHS and their difficult financial situation, from children to our vulnerable elderly population, I feel passionately about trying to help patients in our local community that are suffering daily. No one deserves to live with pain.
If you would like to donate and support the ‘Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision’, your contribution will make an enormous difference to patient’s ability to be freed from painful foot conditions and improve the quality of their life.
I would like to personally thank you for taking the time to read this Southend-On-Sea Podiatry Provision Proposal. I appreciate your kind consideration and should you wish to share this proposal and spread further awareness, I would be very grateful.