Senator puts a foot down over health ‘lottery’

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Fianna Fáil Senator, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor

THE Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has sharply criticised the “postcode lottery of health services which continues to leave people in Carlow at a  disadvantage”.

Senator Murnane O’Connor said it wasn’t good enough that podiatry, the branch of medicine that deals with foot ailments, was available in some local heath areas but not in others.

The HSE is not legally obliged to provide podiatry services but where available, services may be provided by the local health office or by voluntary organisations on behalf of the HSE.

“More than 100 people are on the waiting list for podiatry services in Carlow,” the Senator claimed.

“This service is currently provided for free by the HSE, but I’ve been contacted a number of times in the past weeks from anxious constituents who told me the service is set to close.

“This is a much-valued service with more than 100 people on the waiting list to access it. Once it closes the service will only be available at a cost leaving many people in a vulnerable position.”

Carlow needs to maintain this service.

She said: “Podiatry mostly consists of diagnosing and treating diseases and abnormalities of the foot and lower limb. For people with diabetes, access to a podiatrist can mean the difference between healthy feet or amputation.

“For older people unable to take care of their own podiatry needs, a podiatrist will care for foot ulcers, calluses, corns, nail infections, and bunions.  The treatment they provide can make an older person more mobile and give them a new lease of life.

“The need for podiatry will only continue to increase due to the rise in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes and awareness about routine foot care and health.

“Carlow needs to maintain this service.”

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