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THU0640-HPR Provision of Care Services for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases-Related Foot and Ankle Problems: A Survey from Sixteen European Countries
  1. B.A.-P. Alcacer-Pitarch1,
  2. M. Backhouse1,
  3. G. Gijon-Nogeron2,
  4. D. Biscontini3,
  5. S. Bonafede4,
  6. A. Ferreira5,
  7. A. Gatt6,
  8. Y. Lescure7,
  9. T.N. Nava8,
  10. A. Redmond1,
  11. on behalf of EULAR Foot & Ankle Study Group
  1. 1Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine and Leeds NIHR Biomedical Research Unit, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  2. 2Department of Nursing and Podiatry Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Malaga, Malaga, Spain
  3. 3Unit Department of Rheumatology, Hospital University of Perugia Santa Maria della Misericordia, Perugia
  4. 4Department of Physiotherapy, S. Raffaele University Hospital, Milan, Italy
  5. 5St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom
  6. 6Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Msida, Malta
  7. 7Intitut Nationla de Podologie, Paris, France
  8. 8Department of translational medicine and surgery, University of Milan Bicocca, Milan, Italy


Background The increased prevalence of foot and ankle pathologies in Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) is well documented1, however the provision of foot & ankle (F&A) healthcare services for people with RMDs in Europe has not been evaluated.

Objectives To assess the current healthcare systems for providing foot & ankle healthcare services for people with RMDs in Europe.

Methods A survey was undertaken to evaluate current provision of F&A health care services for people with RMDs across Europe. A questionnaire was distributed to all 22 country presidents representing HP associations within EULAR. The questionnaire used was developed and piloted (in 7 countries) by the EULAR F&A Study Group, and structured to capture the provision and type of F&A services for people with RMDs. When the HP presidents felt unable to answer specific questions they were encouraged to consult a colleague who may be better placed to provide the answers.

Results Sixteen questionnaires were completed (Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Hungary, Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Malta). Of the 16, 13 respondents indicated provision of F&A health care services in their country, but only three countries had services specialising in RMD-related F&A problems (Netherlands, UK, Malta). The professions providing the care for patients with RMD-related F&A problems were different depending on the pathology and the country (Table1). Podiatrists provided care for F&A pain and deformity problems in 11 countries, but provided F&A ulcer care in only 8 countries.

Table 1.

Number of countries reporting which professions are involved in providing the health services specialising in RMD-related F&A problems. Only professions that were present in ≥10 countries were included

Conclusions Only 3 countries have F&A health care services specialised to the needs of people with RMDs. The professions providing the care varied between countries, and also depended on the F&A pathology. Interestingly, F&A healthcare services were provided by professions that do not solely specialised in F&A care. Further research is needed to assess the variation of F&A healthcare services between and within European countries and the impact on healthcare of various F&A healthcare service designs.

  1. Woodburn, J. & Helliwell, P. Foot problems in rheumatology. Rheumatology 36, 932–934 (1997).

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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