Chiropody / Podiatry

Chiropodists assess, diagnose and treat diseases and abnormalities of the foot. Their work can vary greatly from patient to patient, depending on the problem. Podiatry is a medical term that means much the same thing as chiropody, and is now becoming more widely used. The aim of chiropody/podiatry services is to cure the patient's problem and where possible, prevent recurrence of existing foot problems or the development of new foot problems. Health promotion is another important aspect of the chiropodist's work.

Arrangements for chiropody and podiatry services vary from region to region. Some health service areas provide chiropody/podiatry services through their own clinics, others arrange for private contractors to provide it on their behalf. Some hospitals also provide chiropody/podiatry services under certain circumstances, and on the basis of medical need. The Hepatitis C Liaison Officers are currently drawing up lists of contractors who will be willing to provide services, and bill the health board directly.

HAA cardholders can also avail of chiropody/podiatry services from any qualified chiropodist/podiatrist. The cost of these services will be recouped by your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer. You can avail of as many visits to the chiropodist/podiatrist as you need and there is no requirement to obtain prior approval or a GP's referral. There is no need for you to apply to the health service executive for the Chiropody Card (this is only used for medical cardholders).

The type of services which are offered by most chiropodist / podiatrists include the following:

  • foot-care and footwear advice;
  • pain management in the foot;
  • nail surgery;
  • verrucae treatment;
  • diabetic footcare and continuous assessment;
  • preventative footcare by the use of customised orthotics.

Should you require the services of a chiropodist, please contact your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer. You can also attend any qualified chiropodist of your choice, and submit your invoice directly to the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer for payment. If you wish, the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer will contact the chiropodist/podiatrist on your behalf to check whether he/she wishes to be added to a HSE list, or if not, will agree to bill the Liaison Officer directly for your own treatment. If the chiropodist/podiatrist is unwilling, or if you would prefer that the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer did not get involved, you are still free to attend this chiropodist/podiatrist and have the cost recouped. You do not have to attend a local chiropodist/podiatrist, or to continue attending the same chiropodist/podiatrist if you choose not to.

If you attend a chiropodist/podiatrist other than the ones on a HSE list, you should be careful to check that he/she is professionally qualified. Hepatitis C Liaison Officers will not recoup the cost of chiropody services provided by an unqualified or unregistered practitioner. If in doubt, check with the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer before incurring any expense.

The Department of Health and Children is in the process of establishing a revised assessment mechanism for those chiropodists/podiatrists who wish to work in the public health service. This will involve establishing minimum standards for acceptable practice and assessment of chiropodists/podiatrists against this standard.

There are four separate professional bodies representing chiropodists/podiatrists in Ireland:

  • Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Ireland, Tel: (01) 2024939;
  • Irish Chiropodists/Podiatrists Organisation Ltd., Tel: (01) 838 0556 / 8680708;
  • Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Ireland, Tel: (01) 6268548;
  • Irish Branch of the British Chiropody & Podiatry Association, Tel: (01) 679 9649.

If you require further information about chiropody or wish to check whether your practitioner is a registered member of one of these organisations, you should contact them directly.

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