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Volunteers cutting toe nails within NHS clinics

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by marydoll, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. marydoll

    marydoll Welcome New Poster

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    Can anyone give me more information please. Im just starting out in private practice in the west of scotland area and I have heard gossip that volunteers are being trained up by podiatrists to cut nails for anyone without a medical condition, to be seen within the local NHS clinic. A pilot scheme was set up in a town and there are rumours that this service is now being rolled out throughout a certain NHS area . Now, I know I've been trained to do more than this, and that foot care assistants can also do this but surely this is taking business from private practitioners and jobs from foot care assistants. I"m starting out and any business even toe nail cutting is better than nothing. Anyone heard of this happening and does the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrist approve ?
  2. marydoll

    marydoll Welcome New Poster

    Sorry, I've discovered the volunteers are not working in in NHS clinics but in charity organisation premises, so my apologises. I have found out that these volunteers after two days training by NHS podiatrists are able to take appointments or walk ins and give free treatments of nail cutting, callous reduction using a file and toe nail painting.
    Instruments designated to individual clients are disinfected in Dettol. Not sure about their insurance.
    On research I've found that SCP gave Age Uk advice on this type of service a few years ago. Seems its's popular in England and now coming to a town near you in Scotland.
  3. cperrin

    cperrin Active Member

    Age Concern have a similar set up near by, and i must say i dont see what the problem is. Not all patients qualify for care under the NHS, but as a social need, require their nails to be cut. Those that cant afford to pay for a private pod every 3-4 months shouldnt be just left, good on charitable services IMO.

    Im asuming your sigh is more towards the loss of possible revenue rather than the care of people who cant afford your service ;)
  4. Catfoot

    Catfoot Well-Known Member

    Hello marydoll,
    Sadly this situation is not new and there are Social Enterprise Schemes springing up in various parts of the UK

    Here's one I am familiar with :-


    as you can see, by the time the patient has paid out for the initial cost of a pair of nail clippers, the Barbicide to store them in and the cost of the visits (which are usually about every 4/5 weeks) it would be cheaper to see a pod. :rolleyes:

    It's a case of "Caveat Emptor" really and if the prospective clients are told that these people are not Pods and they still agree to let them loose on their pinkies, then that's their choice.


  5. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member

    All trained by NHS podiatrists eh ??:rolleyes:

    Makes FHP's look like doctors with the extent and length of their training then:D

  6. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    For me the greater problem is that the profession and therefore the professional body has lost a little more control of the foot.

    If volunteers started cleaning and descaling teeth the dental governing body would be up in arms. In fact such a scheme wouldn't have got off the ground.

    Maybe the podiatry profession has in some ways encouraged this situation by the attitude reflected for example, in the relative contents of the forums on this website which suggest a certain running away from the idea that podiatry is concerned with cutting toe nails or reducing hard skin?

    What percentage of the correspondence is concerned with toe nails and callus? Which of the forums are nails, callus and corns placed in (geriatrics! why not biomechanics?). Does the focus of the forums relate directly to the work of the podiatrists or to their aspirations and fantasies?

    Why isn't the Society protecting the foot in the same way dentistry and medicine have and are protecting their domains?

  7. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member

    Nail on head Bill!

    Graduates seem not to want to do the basics, just the specialties- hence in PP they do not build in a flexible system to accomodate simple nail cutting. I cannot believe they prefer to let unqualified/ volunteers do the work! I still take great pride in looking after feet -be it nail cutting or nail surgery.

    SCP- complete waste of time for private practitioners. I have got insurance elsewhere for less money and miss them not a jot. Good question though- why arent they protecting the profession?


    ps fees charged by Age concern are often not much cheaper than fees charged by realistic pods!
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  8. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member

    Your own pods (members or ex members, not sure if your in or out these days) are teaching these people !!! over 2 DAYS :bang: and they are going out into the big wide world with your(// professional bodies blessing), charging peanuts:bash: ( and we know what that produces) and now the pods are following:mad:

    CM I havent put my fees up for the last 4 years because pods are now in my area advertising a free consultation and £12 LESS than I charge even now....makes you wonder about the quality of service they offer perhaps ...?? or perhaps they just dont want a proper standard of living :rolleyes:

    Either way , no wonder this " profession hasn't advanced" still just moaning and groaning and up their own ar**s whilst the world advances around them :wacko:
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  9. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member


    I was actually addressing Bills post, but since you have posted, I would just confirm that it is not "my" professionl body that has trained these volunteers, nor do I condone it.

    Unlike you , I have put my fees up each year, I do not advertise and am never short of work. I do not have to worry about any opposition because I cannot take any more work on. Maybe I am lucky in the area in which I live, I dont know. I think Bills point was that pods have lost sight of the fact that they were originally trained to care for the whole foot, nails and all!

    I do not agree that if you charge peanuts...........

    I work for Crisis at Christmas- does that make me a monkey?

  10. blinda

    blinda MVP


    Apologies for going off thread...But, would you mind telling us where you obtained your insurance? Many Pods are unaware that there is an alternative to belonging to a professional body and still maintain professional status.

  11. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member


    I insure with Three Counties Insurance which is underwritten by Royal and Sun Alliance. 08007317829. email medmal@3co.co.uk.

    There is no requirement to belong to a professional body, HPC registration is unaffected.

  12. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    If you don't belong to a professional body then you are unwittingly weakening the power of the profession at a political level and your actions are opening the door to those you are complaining about!

    By not joining the professional body you save money on your professional insurance but help to destroy the professional nature of podiatry.

    Your grumbling re-volunteers should be directed towards your professional body loudly and clearly but if your saving a few hundred quid every year on insurance and professional fees by not being a member of your professional body what the hell let the profession go to the dogs.

    Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

    Maybe the attitude re-professional fees expressed in previous postings goes along with the narrow focus on nails, corns and callus. If so then the rest of the profession would be better off without the nail cutters.

    Have a nice day.

  13. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member


    I refuse to take the blame for destroying the professional nature of podiatry!

    It has never been about the money. I left the SCP because they do not support the private practitioner, they have spent an inordinate amount of money on rebranding which has been a total waste of time and they do nothing to protect the profession- they supoorted Age Concern and volunteer nail cutters. Which bit of that is protecting the profession?

    I tried the full frontal approach , it didnt work.

  14. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member


    My point is what you ( podiatrists in general) charge.

    I could have a queue from my house to your house if I charge £20 a patient and would have to give a service to match if I wanted to have a proper standard of living cramming loadsapatients into a very long day = BUSY FOOL:wacko:

    Alternatively, I charge a reasonable fee for a "proper" service. I to have enough work to suit me , bearing in mind my age and the fact I don't work every day through choice BUT still earn probably more than most.

    If you want to do voluntary work at Christmas I say well done to you:drinks as it is a commendable action, BUT you wouldn't work voluntarily the rest of the year would you ??
    Exactly you have to make a living and have a quality of life.

    I'm sure you understand where I am coming from with this fee thing ?? its the same place as you

  15. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member


    With hindsight, I a not completely sure that I got the point of Bills post! I think I may have misinterpreted - there again I often lost the thread when he lectured us!

    Anyway, I do of course agree that pods should charge reasonable fees,and although my colleagues and I have a pretty similar scale of fees, I do have one in my area that insists on undercutting the rest of us- her work is ok but her reliability is rubbish - she fails to turn up at appointments and does not return patients calls. It looks bad for the profession and can hardly give her job satisfaction. So, at last something we agree on! That must be a first!
    As for a free consultation- that smacks of desperation!

  16. blinda

    blinda MVP

    Hi Bill,

    Within the NHS nails, corn `n callus may no longer be the focus of pods because the majority of this work is now assigned to the Foot Care Assistant (The SCP equivalent to FHPs...) or, as CM pointed out, to Age Concern, volunteer nail cutters, etc.

    However, I can assure you that it certainly remains the bread `n butter of the independent private practitioner. Yet, the SCP refuse to support us by encouraging their NHS members to discharge pts to the care of Age Concern or, as my local NHS trust does, to their own “Fee Paying Podiatry Service” offering treatments at £10.00. Private practitioners in Hampshire cannot compete with this and many have ceased private practice as a direct result of this. Can you see why there is increasing animosity towards professional bodies?

  17. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    I think we are just about all making the same case here.

    1. The professional body should look after the interests of all of its members.
    2. If you don't feel that the professional body is looking after your interest one of your strategies of protest is to leave the professional body.

    Heaven forbid that I should appear to be an apologist for the actions of the professional body but there seems to be a certain clear pathways of action for all interested parties in this and any dispute.

    The sense I get from your postings is that the interested parties are the SCP and private practitioners. The private practitioners having very little individual power to affect things politically and the SCP having all the power to affect things politically.

    But what about all of the other players in these ultimately political debates, eg other health care professionals, medicine, dentistry, volunteer organisations, not for profit sector, the Government, individual MPs, uncle Tom Cobley and all.

    In the simplified model of private practitioner versus professional body the small fish big fish analogy is clear but add in all of the other players and the water becomes more than muddied.

    But all in all, even with the best will in the world, the SCP is a very small fish in the big pond.

    Back to dentists and dental hygienists. Why don't dental hygienists start up practices in premises remote from dentists where a potential patient/client can just walk in off the street and make an appointment? The answer is because they can't, ie it's illegal. All patients must be referred to the hygienist by a dentist, ie dentistry has gained and maintains professional and legal control over the mouth or at least the teeth. But even there the dental domain has to be policed and protected against the encroachment of others.

    Podiatry for a list of reasons as long as your arm doesn't have the political clout of dentistry and even with a following wind never will have.

    It seems to me that most of the professional 'advances', like use of LA, nail surgery, podiatric surgery, first and higher degrees, etc have come about partly because the profession at all levels, ie individual through to professional body is dynamic, ambitious, tenacious, etc but largely because at the time when they were implemented the desires of the profession (very small fish) were in line with those of the government (very big fish and Director of the pond), ie ultimately the professional body was pushing at an open door!

    All professions want total control of their domain,eg dentists and their hygienists, which in terms of nail cutting would mean that only podiatrists or some one designated by the podiatrist (with the podiatrist maintaining legal responsibility for each patient) could undertake nail cutting (and callus reduction) and that this relationship would be held in place by the power of the law. But at the moment there is no political will within the national government for this so it won't happen, ie the SCP is powerless to get the outcome that many private practitioners and the representative of the SCP want.

    Not maintaining membership of the professional body has negative and positive outcomes.
    A couple of negative outcomes are: ultimately it reduces the negotiating power of the professional body; it also reduces the power of the individual practitioner who is almost totally swept along by the tide of events outside of their control.

    A couple of positive outcomes are: it can give the professional body a wake up call causing them to redouble efforts in a certain direction; usually it's a sign of growing political awareness of the practitioners who resign from the professional body and ultimately the majority discover that they are better represented within than without the professional body and some of them are likley to become politically active within the professional body.

    There you go. I've put the world to rights once again. I feel the need to whistle coming on. Maybe I should get out more?

    Best wishes,

  18. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member

    I make no comment on te SCP as I have no axe to grind with them not being a member, but as a general point, WHY do we keep trying to align Podiatry with Dentistry?? :confused:

    In my view it is a pie in the sky ideal because of the basic premis of the two professions.

    ANYONE can "DO" Feet perhaps badly but they are accessable to yourself and to others. We see on a daily basis the damage that can be caused by well meaning people that "THINK" they can "DO" feet.

    I have yet to see anyone doing their own teeth or letting anyone other than a dentist in their mouth to fix them.

    That is why IMHO we will never ever get parity.

    We have to find another way to promote the profession as a single entity but to do that there needs to be a unity starting with ALL the professional bodies:eek:

    And we all know what the chances of that happening are dont we :deadhorse:

    Just my thoughts

  19. Or none of them. Given that SMAE and the Alliance (whoever they represent) exist solely by promoting courses that clearly exploit and circumvent the current legislation/regulation, why should they be included? Especially as they had the opportunity of securing accreditation only a few years ago but chose not to! As for the SCP it has its own very well documented problems - not least the conflict of interest in its fundamental role of representation in the public/private market.
  20. I can see it's going to be a bon nuit - if a rather late one - in a couple of week's time! Is there a decent vinyard within shouting distance?
  21. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member

    As I said Mark


    Sad but true

  22. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    "Political correctness" is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that is is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

    Dear DiThioThreitol,

    I think that the above interpretation of political correctness is too niave.

    For me the first part would be more accurately defined as:

    "Political correctness" is a doctrine deriving from a delusional, illogical majority and fostered by a highly logical and manipulative minority to promote their own ends.

    I also think that the mainstream media form part of that logical and highly manipulative minority and that the mainstream media have got it right. If the turd is the politically incorrect act and the clean end is the money they can gain from selling it?

    Of course that could just be my paranoia talking?

  23. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member


    I think first off your should visit the opticians !!

    its DTT not DDT but then again perhaps you dont ;)

    I assume you are having a dig at the private providers ?

    That has run its course on the arena so many times to become boring.
    I have no politcal alleigence to anyone . I get my indemnity insurance from one of them simply because it would be too expensive to leave it !!

    That aside, all the rights and wrongs of the political situation in this profession is never going to change, because with all the hooting and hollering about private providers , they are still churning out FHP's by the thousands and making a fortune in doing so:bang:

    So I'm not going there again sorry I've had 25 years of slagging off so its all getting a bit boring now, and I'm still here so.........
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  24. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Dear DelTheToe,

    Sorry about the DDT DTT error I did pick it up and correct it but it must have been after you had looked at the original.

    The day will never come when I will want to 'have a dig at private providers'. I can't even think of any reason why I would want to do so. Although you are undoubtedly picking up something from what I have written that gives you that impression?

    I am on your side. What I was trying to say is, although banging your head against a wall, grumbling, leaving the professional body, etc are very important strategies and give a great emotional release for a short time ultimately there are better ways of getting what you want?

    Best wishes,

  25. DTT

    DTT Well-Known Member

    Then please accept my apologies for misunderstanding your post.

    From years of experience and post that starts DDT puts me on my guard because it usualy means someone is about to have a go and give me a slagging off usually about my training background and or trying to "score points" from me.

    Hence my sway towards the defensive.

    Again my apologies

  26. rosherville

    rosherville Active Member

    A professional body loses all credibility when, against it`s constitution and member`s specific wishes, it allows it`s Chairman to unilaterally bulldoze through a change to it`s Constitution re: membership !

    What more proof is needed to show that the body is there for the benefit of it`s officers and not it`s membership. Why would anyone suggest that its worth spending even a penny to belong !

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