Job losses at Portsmouth foot service despite positive results

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A SERVICE that has helped cut the number of foot amputations among diabetics in Portsmouth has made five people redundant.

Solent NHS Trust runs the podiatry service for Portsmouth and south Hampshire.

The service focuses on footcare, including looking at the feet of diabetic patients.

As previously reported, work done by this team, along with other agencies, has helped the number of diabetic foot amputations fall by 25 per cent.

But despite this success, a month-long consultation, last year, identified five posts were to be lost, in order to make efficiency savings. A competitive interview process was held last month, and earlier this month, five staff members were told of their fate.

Graham Bowen, head of podiatry at the trust, said: ‘The service has re-designed staffing to ensure the service continues to provide high quality care for those with greatest clinical need for our patients in Portsmouth and south Hampshire.

‘The trust is responsible for the delivery of a set amount of treatments per year, on a block contract, and this is not changing as a result of the recent service redesign.

‘The same amount of care will be delivered.’

The trust also added that patient care was its primary concern.

Stuart Metcalfe, consultant podiatrist at the trust, said: ‘We place patient care at the centre of all of our services.

‘The changes we are making to our staff will not adversely affect the service we provide to our patients.

‘They are purely aimed at delivering care for patients with the greatest clinical need.

‘We have invested heavily in staff training and development so we can deliver advanced podiatric care in the community rather than acute hospital settings.

‘Consequently, the major diabetic amputation rate in Portsmouth has reduced by 25 per cent from this time last year and podiatry has contributed significantly to this.’

There were 36 major amputations performed between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2012, a drop of 12 – or 25 per cent – from the 48 recorded from 2008 to 2011.