Arthritic and 82 – but barred from the NHS

A Muswell Hill pensioner has been forced to seek private chiropody treatment after being refused vital foot care on the NHS

Charlotte Newton

A Muswell Hill pensioner has been forced to seek private chiropody treatment after being refused vital foot care on the NHS.

Audrey Kelly, 82, from Coppetts Road, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis in both feet and corns on her toes, which makes walking difficult. She also has two prosthetic knees.

But after the closure of Fortis Green GP practice, where she had been getting treatment, Haringey Primary Care Trust told her to pay for private treatment.

This is because she does not meet the requirements for NHS care - which is only available for "high risk patients", who suffer from diabetes or circulation problems.

Mrs Kelly's daughter Louise, 43, said: "It's disgraceful that my mother cannot get any care on the NHS.

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"She was receiving care for her feet on the NHS for years and then suddenly it has stopped.

"My mother is on benefits and has difficulty walking because of the corns on her feet. She needs to see a chiropodist."

Mrs Kelly's GP, Dr Hatjiosif, from the Rutland House Surgery in Muswell Hill, said: "Mrs Kelly was previously being seen for foot health care in Crouch End.

"I referred her twice to St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham. But Haringey PCT told her that she did not fit their requirements for foot treatment - so there is nothing more I can do.

"I sympathise with Mrs Kelly's situation but the matter is out of my hands. This is a matter for Haringey PCT commissioning department."

Hornsey and Wood Green Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone said: "It is outrageous and completely unreasonable that the NHS will not treat her foot problem.

"Mrs Kelly is in such severe pain and, being unable to get treatment on the NHS, she tried self- treatment.

"This left her worse off with severely bleeding and infected feet.

"Since the Fortis Green clinic closed, I have seen a real issue with elderly people being unable to get foot care on the NHS - despite NHS assurances that the service has not been cut.

"This is clearly not the case and Haringey PCT needs to deliver on its promises and ensure that people like Mrs Kelly get the service they deserve."

The Ham&High Broadway approached Haringey Primary Care Trust for a comment but calls were not returned at the time of going to press.

Local Lib Dems are now calling on Haringey PCT to provide a foot care service similar to the one which was provided at the Fortis Green clinic when Hornsey Hospital opens next year.

Age Concern Haringey is also running a campaign to improve foot care for the elderly in the borough.

For details, www.ageconcern.