"Referral system is broken"

About: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter has ingrown toenails (like her parents).

They have become infected and she has been treated by the GP for the infection on several occasions. Three different GPs have indicated that we should contact the community podiatry team following the infection clearing up. (This has taken a while due to recurring infection). All 3 GPs from the same Practice - none of which were locums, gave us the phone number for the service, to self-refer.

On ringing the podiatry service I have been informed that you cannot self-refer to the service and that you need a GP referral which they should have done within the appointment. I am very irritated, and annoyed and chances are the infection will reoccur now before a referral and appointment has been made, delaying the treatment again, and meaning that this lack of clarity on referral processes has caused harm to my daughter.

When this was explained to me, and it was clear that there was a problem with the referral pathway, I asked the call handler what they were going to do to resolve this pathway issue to ensure it doesn't happen again, either for me and my daughter or for other patients. They said the only thing we could do was go back to the GP. This irritated me further as clearly there is a pathway issue and going back to the GP will not solve this underlying route cause.

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Response from Heather Edwards, Head of Communications, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

We're sorry to hear of your concerns. If a patient rings we advise them to either get a referral from their GP if they have been seen by them, or tell the patient thay can self refer but will need to complete a referral form which we will send out. Patients cannot can ring and book directly in to see a podiatrist. We are sorry if this was not explained to you.

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