A PROPOSAL to centralise podiatry services across Portsmouth have left patients and groups concerned about how they will get to appointments.
Solent NHS Trust is planning to merge services, currently at Cosham Health Centre, Eastney Health Centre, Lake Road Health Centre, The Turner Centre at St James’ Hospital and Paulsgrove Healthy Living Centre, and have a clinic at St Mary’s Community Campus.
The podiatry team spoke to councillors at the Health Overview Scrutiny Panel (Hosp) and told members about the advantages for staff and patients, including better employee development and training and patients having access to all specialisms in one place.
But service users have been left asking questions about travel – and bosses were told they should try to catch the bus to see for themselves how long a journey it is.
Chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth Roger Batterbury said: ‘It is an understatement to say we were very surprised when we were told about the plans.
‘I can understand having to move from the Turner Centre and for the trust centralising is probably better but I don’t think they are thinking about the patients who may have mobility issues and will now have to travel to St Mary’s.
‘We asked the team to take a bus journey from Paulsgrove to the campus and see how many buses they need to take. I think they took it as humour but we are serious.’
Steve Bonner, chairman of the Pompey Pensioners, said: ‘The problem is that this is inconvenient for members especially those who live in Paulsgrove and Southsea.
‘There are infrequent bus services and a lack of parking at St Mary’s and it is also very expensive.’
The podiatry team in The Turner Centre at St James’s has to move out by the end of October.
During the Hosp meeting, councillors questioned the move.
Portsmouth City Councillor Leo Madden felt that ‘the decision has already been made’.
A podiatrist from the Solent NHS Trust told the meeting: ‘The industry has changed massively over 10 years and being in one place will mean good support for staff.’
‘It means we can quickly ask a colleague who has a specialism a question which prevents that patient having more appointments.’