COVID-19 and the contribution of redeployed NHS Tayside podiatrists

NHS Tayside
Dawn Trevis and Chris Millard 600 x 400
NHS podiatrists Dawn Trevis and Chris Millard talk about their redeployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hi, we are Dawn and Chris, just two of several podiatrists in NHS Tayside who have spent some time during the pandemic redeployed into other services.

We began in April 2020 undergoing all of the COVID-19 training and working with community nurses in the Care and Treatment Service, in both wound and leg ulcer clinics. This was a great opportunity for us to learn new skills and increase the profile of podiatry amongst our colleagues.

In September we were then asked to help out in the mop-up phase of 'flu vaccinations for housebound over age 80 patients, commencing in October. During this time, we worked alongside district nurses travelling to patients’ homes to administer their vaccine. We were also providing vaccine sessions for some of our colleagues in community clinics.

Extra training was required to complete the Turas Immunisation module as well as keeping our mandatory core modules of Basic Life Support and Anaphylaxis, amonst others, up to date.

This takes us into December. As we were finishing the 'flu vaccinations, the COVID-19 vaccination programme was beginning to roll out. The thought crossed our minds “Can we help again?”

Yet more training ensued. Another constantly updating chapter of the Green Book (immunisation bible), and reading, understanding and signing the Patient Group Direction (PGD) that is also fluid and changes frequently. We attended our induction sessions at the beginning of January 2021.

Uptake of the vaccine in the first two phases has so far been high and the clinics are well booked up. We expect to be going back out to carry out housebound and community sessions over the coming weeks and months. We were administering the Pfizer–Biontech vaccine within hospital settings to frontline staff, but when we go out in community, it will most likely be the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine that will be available to begin with.

All of the NHS Tayside podiatrists currently redeployed as vaccinators are still working in podiatry clinics. At the time of writing, Scotland is still in Tier 4 so we are only treating high risk and wound patients.

I think we can speak for the others who have been redeployed with us: no matter how far down our podiatry career we are, we were probably a little anxious to find out where we were needed and for how long, as this pandemic continued to evolve. We were made very welcome in our new nursing family and felt that we were able to contribute well.

From this we are pleased to say that the profile of podiatry and the podiatrist's role and worth have been raised within our health board. We hope to continue with these new contacts and build on our relationship for the well-being of the patients we treat.

It has shown that podiatrists have a great skill mix, are versatile and can offer a hugely valuable contribution to our patients’ welfare and ongoing treatment. It was good to get back to our podiatry family too and we have brought some of our new skills and knowledge back with us.

Dawn Trevis and Chris Millard
NHS Tayside