Foot Health - Footwear Fittings

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This petition is to kindly request that Boris Johnson announces Qualified Shoe Fitters and Members of the Society of Shoe Fitters and Children’s Foot Health Register be allowed to trade during lockdown. Parents and all, please help us.

Plain and simple, qualified shoe fitters provide a service that supports our healthcare. Some of our members see 20+ daily podiatry referred footwear fittings. We are therefore crucial for those medical professionals and certainly not considered a non-essential given we support their recommendations on diagnosis management. 

Our members are trained to recognise foot health issues, give best advice and do their best to save the NHS a fortune, this higher level of knowledge from our Qualified Shoe Fitters is often why specialist podiatry and chiropody services refer patients over. We are deemed the industry gold standard in fitting and a break in fittings checks for those vulnerable in health, both old and young is impacting our nations foot health. It’s about time the government took the health concerns we see daily and pressure we feel seriously. Our public are our concern, please may it be yours too.

Worryingly to our public, the footwear industry has lost numerous professional shoe shops this year alone.  Shops are hanging by a shoestring (every pun intended) due to supermarkets selling cheaply made footwear and online sales, but now the doors are banging shut on shops that have been around numerous generations – excellent quality, with professional fitters that put shoe fitting, health and service above fashion and quick sales.
 
Ill-fitting footwear affects our physiology and has a knock-on effect for our whole bodies, so children in particular should be measured and fitted professionally and regularly. Also, for someone living with diabetes for example, this is even more important for both adults and children.  A blister can lead to an ulcer, an ulcer can become infected and this can lead to amputation – costing the NHS millions.  There are no records for statistics regarding the number of back, knee and hip problems/operations there are, or the cost of medication/GP hours/surgery/treatment paid for by the NHS  (although we know that approx 170 diabetes sufferers have an amputation annually) many of which would not have occurred if people had been informed by government that shoe fitting is a vital (and free) service for all.  The importance of specialist shoe fitting shops was pointed out in the 1970’s Munro Report, but subsequently and worryingly ignored.
 
Chiropodists/Podiatrists are allowed to open during this lockdown, we are grateful for this. We therefore ask Qualified Shoe Fitters i.e. members of the Society of Shoe Fitters and the Children’s Foot Health Register, should also be allowed to open too, given we often see daily referrals from clinics. This request is in relation to just those offering a professional qualified safe measuring and fitting service and applies to members Registered under The Society of Shoe Fitters and The Children’s Foot Health Register.  The Society of Shoe Fitters is a registered charity helping the public with their enquiries. Hundreds of young parents were calling the charity  with concerns during the first lockdown on how to support their vulnerable first walker when the experts were closed. Now with the colder weather children will need boots and good socks to keep feet warm, safe and dry, but thick socks in wrongly sized shoes or boots is just recipe for ill fittings and disaster.
 
There are some brands offering gauges and online sales and goodness knows the damage this has caused as parents do not recognise if their child has a high instep, pronation, supination, low ankle bone etc. or developing claw toes, hallux valgus, plantar fasciitis etc.  All ailments our Qualified Members are trained to identify. Parents at home during such long periods of time cannot be expected to identify such things and the reality is, they miss key factors that lead to irreparable damage.  Unfortunately, our public may be led to believe the numbers on an at home measuring gauge is automatically the size they need, and yet the measure is merely the starting point never the recommendation. 
 

Please parents sign so this can be discussed in parliament. 

Thank you,

Samantha Tarbit, Member of The Society of Shoe Fitters.

Owner of Shoedini, Milton Keynes