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Podiatric surgery is well established in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK with over 50 podiatric surgery units. This paper aimed to evaluate patient experience and satisfaction following foot surgery within a NHS orthopaedic department before and after the appointment of a podiatric surgeon. It highlights relevant labour force issues.
88 patients operated on by a podiatric surgeon were asked to complete an anonymous foot surgery satisfaction questionnaire. The same questionnaire was sent to another random selection of 88 orthopaedic patients matched by Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys Classification of Surgical Operations and Procedures code (OPCS).
Of the 88 questionnaires sent to each group 56 (63.6%) were returned to the (podiatric group) and 60 (68.2%) the (orthopaedic). Patient satisfaction was rated as excellent 63.7%, moderate/good 23.6% and poor 12.7% of podiatric respondents and excellent 43.4%, moderate 17% and poor 39.6% of orthopaedic respondents.
The results suggest that patient satisfaction following foot surgery rose significantly following appointment of a podiatric surgeon. Improvements were identified in the overall outcome of the surgery and other aspects of the patients' journey. To date we are not aware of any study that has reviewed outcomes of an integrated approach and, as such provides a historical benchmark.