Two NHS workers have been celebrated for their two decades of commitment to the health service.

The Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, has been providing podiatry services for twenty years.

Today, a team of 30 colleagues provide the service, and among their number are two original members of the team who started out two decades ago, podiatrists Roger Halliday and Rebecca Still.

Tony Joyce, a podiatric surgeon and head of service for Somerset FT, said he was proud of the outstanding achievements of our podiatry colleagues over the years. He said:

“Our service is under more pressure than ever with a well-documented national shortage of podiatrists,” he said.

“This simply makes it all the more amazing how, every day, our colleagues do such a sterling job in ulcer prevention and treatment, limb preservation, and assisting with the mobility of people in Somerset.

“We provide many other types of service, including biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system, which looks at lower limb function, as well as orthotic devices that help with stretching and exercise therapy to improve a patient’s pain and mobility.

“We also offer minor toenail surgery under local anaesthetic for ingrowing toenails – though it’s important to note that, despite the misconception of what a podiatrist does, we don’t provide a social toe cutting service!

“It’s not just out in the community that our teams operate, as we also provide services in both Musgrove Park and Yeovil hospitals, where we manage patients who’ve been admitted from the community or through our district nurses and GPs. We work really closely with the vascular and endocrinology teams on the hospital wards too. 

“When we first set up our service 20 years ago, we tended to care for elderly people who weren’t able to cut their toenails, along with a bit of wound care, biomechanics and nail surgery.

“Over the years, our whole profession has had to evolve a great deal due to our caseload of patients having increasingly complex needs, often due to people living longer.

“This seems to have accelerated in the last six years as we’re now seeing far more patients for post-operative follow-up care, after they’ve been operated on by our vascular and orthopaedic surgeons – who are also seeing many more patients themselves.

“We are having to do this within the context of a national shortage of podiatrists, and I’m so proud of our team for the incredible resilience that they’ve shown over the past few years in stepping up to the plate. It has been extra challenging as our department is in a period of transformation, which can be unsettling.

“We have some really exciting developments in 2023 that our predecessors could only dream of back in 2003!