Staffing issues impacting on health services

DUP MLA Goerge Robinson.
DUP MLA Goerge Robinson.

The Western Trust has said it is having difficulties in filling posts in a number of healthcare areas following concerns over the podiatry services locally.

DUP Assembly member for East Derry George Robinson said there was growing concern about the podiatry service in the Limavady area and across the wider Trust area.

Podiatrists and chiropodists assess, diagnose and treat people with feet, ankle and lower limb problems. Patients using the services include those with diabetes, mobility issues, arthritis and sports injuries.

Mr Robinson said: “It has been brought to my attention that there are concerns about the level of podiatry service provision in the Limavady area specifically and the Western Trust area in general.

“The delay in getting appointments is causing mobility difficulties and pain to some.

“I have written to the permanent secretary of the Health Department requesting an update on the current situation and for an outline of how the services will be maintained if not developed over the coming months.

“This is a service that is of great importance to many residents of Limavady and its hinterland.”

Mr Robinson said Stormont needed to get up and running to “address everyday problems such as this for people”.

Responding to his comments, a spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said: “The Trust is receiving an increasing number of queries on the waiting times currently being experienced across a range of its services.

“The number of patients for some specialities is greater than the level of commissioned and funded services within the Trust.

“In addition, the Trust is continuing to manage workforce challenges including difficulties in filling posts within Podiatry services. The Trust apologises to patients who experience long waiting times.”