A HEALTH boss has moved to quell fears that the elderly are losing their right to foot care.

The head of the service in Somerset said little has changed - apart from the name, with the former chiropody facility now called podiatry.

Rachel Levenson was responding to concerns from a Bishop's Hull pensioner who used to receive free NHS chiropody treatment at the Chestnut Tree centre, in Taunton.

The 75-year-old said she was told during an appointment at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, that her feet were too healthy to qualify for continued treatment.

She was unhappy to be given an 'education' leaflet and an advertisement for more appropriate shoes.

She was also referred to Age Concern, which runs a free toenail cutting service, although the charity has put her on its waiting list as it has so many clients.

Ms Levenson said: "The service really hasn't changed.

"You need to have a medical condition to access the service, but anybody is eligible for an assessment in which they will be given advice on care and footwear.

"If it's a toenail problem, you don't need a qualified podiatrist to provide that service.

"We work with Age Concern, who provide a voluntary service for toenail cutting at a small charge.

"It is more appropriate for a carer or Age Concern to provide that to patients with no medical risk.

"Age Concern is being very proactive in trying to get volunteers, but the charity is obviously reliant upon that. We do provide training and ongoing support."

Taunton Deane Podiatry Service can be contacted on 01823-344211.

For details about the toenail cutting service, call Age Concern on 01749-347179.