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Podiatry Self-Referral: Step 1

Before starting a self-referral

These frequently asked questions and the answers we have given may be helpful to in deciding if self-referral to Podiatry Services is correct for you.

Self-referral is not always the best route to deal with the problem you may be having, and Podiatry Services may not be the right people to help you.

You can read the content for each question or heading below by clicking on the + symbol.

Who can make a self referral?

Provided you, or the person you are submitting a self-referral for, is registered with a doctor’s surgery (GP Practice), which is in either Plymouth, South Hams or the West Devon areas, any member of the public may submit a self-referral.

You may submit this on behalf of yourself (provided you are at least 16 years old), a relative or someone you care for, but you should have their consent when doing this for another adult.

You may also submit a form for a child or young person (aged under 16) you have parental responsibility for.

Do you live in Mid-Devon, Torbay or Cornwall but want care in or around Plymouth?

We cannot accept self-referrals from people registered with a GP practice in Cornwall, the Torbay area, or otherwise outside of the South Hams and West Devon areas, who may wish to access care in or around Plymouth for whatever reason. If this is the case please do not submit a self-referral as it will not be accepted.

Instead, you will need to seek a referral from your doctor to the NHS Podiatry Service in your area or use their self-referral option. More information can be found on these local service websites:




If you are not sure of which service covers your area, please email us for advice: [email protected]

What can I expect from Podiatry Services?

We provide different levels of care and support depending on your specific foot health issues and your general health. Depending on what your needs are, you may be offered one of the following:

  • health education materials and advice to self-care for your problem
  • advice on other sources of foot healthcare you can access for help
  • a face-to-face appointment which may include a number of appointments after which you may be offered up to 12 months open access to the service for certain conditions so you can access the service again with a further self-referral or a referral from a health professional

Please note that most patients who receive face-to-face care will be discharged after their treatment is completed.

Access to our service is based entirely on clinical need – we do not ask for, or take account of other factors and our services are not means-tested.

For which problems can I be offered appointments to see a Podiatrist?

We can provide appointments with a Podiatrist for people who have:

  • foot wounds – also called ulcers or sores
  • very significant foot problems associated with severe health conditions
  • need of surgery to remove a toenail – usually for an ingrowing toenail
  • foot, ankle or related leg problems due to injury or a muscle, tendon or joint problem:
For which problems will I NOT be offered an appointment with a Podiatrist?

We are not able to accept self-referrals (or referrals from a health professional) for the following:

  • Personal foot care or simple nail care because you cannot reach your feet or cannot otherwise care for yourself
  • Fungal toenails
  • Verrucae and all other skin conditions including fungal infections (also called “athlete’s” foot)
  • Diabetes – regular foot checks or monitoring of your foot health which are done at least annually by your doctor’s surgery

If you have any of these needs please refer to our foot health education materials and alternative sources of Podiatry care on our website here.

Where can I have an appointment? (Being seen in community clinics and at home)
Clinic Appointments

The service provides clinic appointments across Plymouth as well as in Ivybridge, Tavistock, and at South Hams Hospital. Whilst we always try to offer patients an appointment close to where they live, there are some treatments we can only offer in set locations, and so patients may need to travel for this care.

Home Visits

There is a limited domiciliary service (home visits) which enables some patients to be seen at home. However, this is strictly for patients who are either bed or chair bound 24/7 or requiring hoisting to move AND who have foot ulcer (wound).

We cannot provide home visits for patients who do not meet these criteria. More information on home visits and our criteria can be found here.

If transport is a problem for you, there is plenty of help and support available. Please see the information here.

Can I get help with transport to attend appointment?

There are many options patients can use to access our service when they do not have their own transport. Full details can be found on our leaflet here.

I have Diabetes – can I see an NHS Podiatrist?

Patients with diabetes do not always need to be seen by a Podiatrist either on a regular basis or as a one-off review. It is important that patients with diabetes take good care of their feet and attend any appointments they are offered by health professionals, but the majority of patients with diabetes are perfectly safe to care for their own feet, such as cutting their own toenails. Foot checks – usually once a year – can be undertaken at your doctor’s surgery by the Practice Nurse or a Health Care Assistant.

If you prefer to have a Podiatrist care for your feet on a regular basis or cannot manage your own simple foot care (such as cutting your toenails), you can find alternatives to the NHS using the information on our leaflet, “Accessing Podiatry Providers Other Than Through the NHS”.

Podiatry Services will help advise patients with diabetes who do not have a significant foot health problem which can be cared for by the NHS, by giving them self-care information, advice leaflets and links to other helpful information to support them taking care of themselves.


Serious Diabetes related foot health problems

If you have diabetes and develop a serious foot problem such as an infection or a new foot wound, you should follow the advice in the next section of the self-referral process using the link at the bottom of this page.

What happens to my self-referral request after I submit it?

We will review your submitted request – this is called triage and will help us decide what help we can offer you. This goes through a number of stages and includes the review by our staff of your submitted information. Our administration team will organise a response to you.

When will I get a reply from you?

We aim to process all referrals to our service within two working days of receipt. Self-referrals made over a weekend or bank holiday period will take longer to process as the service will be closed – in this case your application will usually be reviewed on the first working day of the week the service re-opens.

Our response times are often quicker than given here but we cannot always guarantee this. Please note that you application will be rejected in cases where insufficient information is provided. Please ensure you answer all the questions as fully as you can.


Replies to self-referrals made online

We would expect you to receive a reply email within a further 48hours of your application being reviewed – so up to 4 working days after you submit it. Please be sure to provide a current email address on the form and always check your email’s junk or spam folder for replies.


Replies to self-referral made by telephone

If you have made a self-referral by telephone, and are unable to receive an email reply, we will reply in writing to your nominated address. Receiving our reply will be influenced by postal services and is beyond our control. We will aim to send a written reply within a further 48 hours of your application being reviewed – so up to 4 days after you submit your self-referral. (Please note that our phonelines can be very busy and so it may be quickest for you to complete the self-referral online if you can).


Replies to general email enquiries

We would expect to respond to you within 48 hours of the first working day we receive your enquiry. If you email over a weekend, bank holiday or evening, we will start reviewing it on our next working day.

What happens if my self-referral is not accepted by you?

If we cannot help you with the problem you have we will send you an email or, if you applied by phone, a letter, telling you so and providing information about how you can care for the problem yourself and/or signpost you to alternative Podiatry providers who may be able to help you.

We may also advise you to seek the support of a different service via your doctor. When possible, we will forward your request for care to another more appropriate NHS service to save you from having to see your doctor.


Do you need help to fill in a self-referral?
Self-referral by telephone

If you are having a problem completing the self-referral form or someone you know wishes to complete a referral but does not have internet access, we can take your self-referral over the telephone.


Please note that our phoneline can be busy and so wherever possible, completing a self-referral online is usually the quickest option. We kindly ask that anyone who can, uses the online route to free up our phoneline for people who cannot use the internet to access self-referral.  


You can call us between 8:30am and 3:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) on 01752 434100 to help you, but before you call us, please make sure you have the following information to hand as we cannot complete a self-referral for you without it:

  • Your full contact details
  • The name of your doctor’s surgery
  • A full list of any medicines, supplements or alternative treatments you take
  • Any information you have about treatments you have had already for the condition you are self-referring for

You will be asked questions about yourself and the problem you have, and this may take a while to complete so please be patient with our staff on the telephone.

Your call will not be answered by a Podiatrist and the staff you speak to will not be able to tell you anything about your foot health, give you any healthcare advice or be able to tell you if your self-referral will be accepted.



Please do not use the self-referral telephone number to find out what is happening with your self-referral as the staff answering this number will not be able to tell you.

If you have a question or think there is a problem with your self-referral, you should contact Podiatry Services directly on 01752 434855 or via [email protected]

Do you have a question but you or our phone lines are busy? Want to email us with a question instead?

Our phone lines are often busy, so you may wish to email us as a more convenient way to get in touch with us. Please contact us to ask questions about, or report problems with using our self-referral option.

Your email will not be reviewed by a Podiatrist and the staff will not be able to tell you anything about your foot health, give you any healthcare advice or be able to tell you if your self-referral will be accepted.

If you email us, please try to give us as much information as possible so that we can give you the information you need quickly.

Please provide a daytime telephone number if you can, just in case we need to speak to you to provide the help you need.

You can email us 24/7 but please note we will not review your email until the next working day (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

Email us at: [email protected]