Orthotics conference to improve patient experience

Wednesday 18 September 2013
L-R: Dr Anita Williams, Rebecca Loo, Dr Jane McAdam, Simon Dickinson, Professor Chris Nester and Dr Karl Landorf.

The University of Salford held a national conference to bring together researchers, clinicians and the designers and manufacturers of orthopaedic footwear and orthotics (such as shoe insoles) in order to explore how patient services can be improved.

Salford has one of the largest training facilities for undergraduate podiatrists in the world and is the only provider of orthotists’ training in England. It is a world-class centre of research in the field of foot and ankle research and led by Professor Chris Nester.

Dr Anita Williams decided to organise the conference to tackle some of the poor experiences reported by both users of orthopaedic footwear and orthotics and the clinicians involved.

In collaboration with Dr Jane McAdam, the Principal Podiatrist at Salford Royal Hospital, a national Footwear Interest group was launched at the conference which will take the lead in creating a national focus for improving these services.

High-profile speakers at the year’s event included:

  • Professor Chris Nester and  Dr Anita Williams
  • Dr Karl Landorf from LaTrobe University, Australia
  • Ailsa Bosworth, Chair and Patient Representative from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
  • Rebecca Loo and Laura Wright from the North Staffordshire Orthotic Campaign
  • Dr Jane McAdam, Principal Podiatrist from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • Simon Dickinson, Chairman of the Orthotic Service Managers Group and Head of the Orthotic Service at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The conference will be held every two years in collaboration with the Footwear Interest group to share good practice and innovations in research and technology and how they can be used to treat patients with foot-related problems.

Conference organiser, Dr Anita Williams, said: “This was a unique event in that the users of orthopaedic footwear, clinicians and the manufacturers were able to ‘voice’ their experiences and also identify how NHS services can be improved.

“At the moment these services waste the NHS around £3.3m each year. Additionally, the hidden cost is the deterioration of the person’s condition leading to the physical, psychological and social consequences that affects both the individual and their families.

“However, it is estimated that for every £1 spent on orthotic services, the NHS saves £4 - representing a £400m saving to the NHS if the services get it right.”

For more information, please email a.e.williams1@salford.ac.uk