Australian Podiatrists Fighting Cuts in Preventative Care

This from the Newcastle (Australia) Herald on efforts to make prevention pay down under. Congrats to Darren Thorpe and Pete Lazzarini for spreading the word.

Podiatrists are putting pressure on Canberra's decision makers in an effort to win a better deal for their patients.

Their Foot Health Month campaign links in with the theme Diabetes: Counting the Costs.

What the podiatrists want is a boost in the number of Medicare-funded visits to podiatrists for people with chronic disease-related foot complications.

Darren Thorpe from Total Podiatry Solutions at Adamstown said the objective was to see the number of Medicare-funded visits boosted from their current base of five to a minimum of 12.

“Those five visits can be used up very quickly if there's an urgent problem,” Mr Thorpe said.

“If the person is not eligible for further assistance and can't afford it then there can be complications leading to amputation. And that can mean significant costs within the health system.”

Mr Thorpe said additional services funded through podiatry would help in the area of limb salvage.

“A lot of the work podiatrists do can prevent significant on-costs,” he said.

The public health campaign now under way takes the form of community service announcements for radio and television, urging people with diabetes to maintain foot health vigilance.

Australasian Podiatry Council's vice-president Peter Lazzarini said that on any given night in Australia, more than 550 people were in hospital with diabetes-related foot ulcers.

“The real shame is we know that up to 90 per cent of those people, or 495 of the 550 patients each night, didn't need to be there,” he said.

“Their foot problem could have been simply managed if they had better access to podiatry-led multi-disciplinary management in their community, thus avoiding their need to go into hospital.”

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