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AN 86-YEAR-OLD blind man is furious at cash-strapped care trust bosses who told him his vital toe and foot treatment has been axed.
Michael Berry, of Ewell House Grove, a victim of East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust's sudden cuts in routine chiropody to some 3,000 patients, is devastated.
He said: "I have been going to Bourne Hall clinic, in Ewell Village, for the last five years every two to three months.
"Apart from having my toenails cut, they medically test my foot for skin sensitivity and circulation and that is very important."
On Thursday, Mr Berry went to a meeting organised by the PCT at Bourne Hall where he hoped to reverse the decision to treat him as non-priority.
"But the crux of the meeting turned out to be how to take care of your feet and do it yourself.
"This is ridiculous. They don't seem to understand I can't even see my own feet and would probably cut them off if I had to do my own toenails."
And Mr Berry, a pensioner on a fixed income who may be forced to find a private chiropodist, is not the first to realise that he is just one of the many affected by the cutbacks, due to the PCT's £6.8m overspend.
A frail, arthritic former nurse wept when she received her letter from health bosses saying they were stopping her lifeline chiropody sessions to concentrate on patients at particular risk.
Needing these since a serious foot operation, Evelyn Warwick, 83, a retired psychiatric nurse who worked at Horton and Longrove hospitals, in Epsom, had heard about the cuts but thought that her problems were so bad she would still be eligible.
She said: "I can't even cut my toe nails for heaven's sake.I am arthritic and wear a surgical shoe.
"I go to the chiropodist's at The Horseshoe, in Banstead, regularly and this keeps my feet comfortable.
"When I got the letter saying I was no longer getting this care I was in tears. This is so, so cruel."
The letter informs patients the trust can now only care for the feet of patients with conditions including deformities.
Said Evelyn, who lives in Tattenham Corner, Epsom: "I would have thought I came into the last category.
"If this is true it is disgusting. If it's a mistake, it's a dreadful mis-take which has upset me dreadful-ly."
As officials promise to investigate Evelyn's case, pensioner Sonia Hanley, of Tadworth, is starting a petition about measures which have shocked old people throughout the area.
She said: "I am going round day centres to get names. Old folk are very shocked by this."
Sonia wants to take the petition to a wider public and is seeking volunteers to take names elsewhere in Banstead and Epsom.
I had heard that in the light of the uproar from those pensioners who need their nails cut the PCT has made a decision to:
Reinstate all those happy healthy pensioners with no problems with their feet so that they can provide an improved service to this group.
in future the PCT will provide 4 weekly nail cuts.
Unfortunately in order to meet this need the PCT has decided to discontinue the following services.
Diabetic foot care will consist of nail care only.
All other care will fall to practice and district nurses.
Orthoses/Insoles will revert to the Hospital Orthotics service access via Orthopaedic consultant only.
Annual Diabetic assessment for all diabetics will be performed by Practice nurses in contravention of NICE 2 .
This reduction in service to Diabetics will release the funding in order to provide ALL PENSIONERS with 4 weekly nail cuts.
There will be a reprofiling of the staff .
Sp only one Podiatrist will be needed to do initial asessments. The 20 other podiatrists will be made redundant so that 40 care assistants taught to cut nails safely (WITH MINIMUM FUSS) can be employed.
The PCT will look to provide all nail cutting in the discomfort of the pts home this will free up needed clinic space for Physio , OT, Dietetics and speech and language therapists.
ps for those who havent guessed i am taking the MICHAEL
Well it's already a fact that Age Concern are now cutting nails for free.... that now would make 20 podiatrist's and now 40 care assistants redundant.. any suggestions for more reprofiling of staff!