Brain Flanagan is the lead podiatrist for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), and he is based in Rothesay.
Podiatrists deal with everything to do with the feet and the lower leg providing therapeutic and surgical techniques to treat infections, ailments, injuries and other non-clinical issues including providing advice and education on foot care.
They care for patients who commonly have health issues and long term conditions which can affect their feet. Feet can suffer a number of problems, from skin and nail conditions to bio-mechanical problems. Other common foot complaints can include bunions, wound management care, skin conditions, mid-arch and ankle joint pain responsible for frequent discomfort.
Podiatrists also work with other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, dietitians, GPs and community nurses. They are also very flexible and work in a wide range of settings from hospital wards, out-patient clinics to visiting patients direct in their own homes.
Brian graduated in 1990 from Glasgow school of Podiatry. He spent his first nine years in clinical practice in England, and has been working as a registered podiatrist in Argyll and Bute since 1999.
Brian progressed to lead podiatrist in November 2016. He manages a team of podiatrists ensuring their skill competencies are maintained and personal development opportunities are regularly pursued.
He also works collaboratively with other health and social care professionals and is responsible for implementing new technology both for patient care and Argyll and Bute podiatry departments. He is also accountable for overseeing compliance of health regulations, department budgets and internal operational procedures.
He said “Being the lead podiatrist is really varied and rewarding. I’ve always been passionate about helping people and knew podiatry was the right career choice for me. No two days are ever the same due to the broad scope of podiatry practice.
“My team and I see patients who can present with serious amounts of pain and discomfort. It is really satisfying for us all to be able to help make a difference to their lives. Our role involves working with a wide range of patients of different ages and backgrounds and includes treating so many different conditions and problems.
“Educating patients is also a large part of my team’s role. There are so many conditions and risk factors that have to be appropriately managed. Educating patients at risk to understand the importance and the benefits of proper foot care is vital.
“Without a doubt I have a great team and the best part of our jobs is the patients that we get to meet and help to relieve their pain, discomfort and advise on prevention of foot problems.”
Podiatrists are one of the essential professionals within a diabetic patient’s circle of care, and have a role to play in preventing and managing diabetic foot complications.
They can advise on concerns about a foot problem and deal with clinical foot care.
People with diabetes should have their feet screened by a podiatrist or other competent health care professional as part of their annual diabetes review to look for and monitor any changes. The Podiatrist can assess high risk diabetic patients, checking the neurological and vascular status of a patient’s feet to give the best advice and treatment to reduce the chances of foot problems.
Brian continued: “The best thing about my job is when I sit down with a patient at their final review and discharge them from the service.
“I am really pleased to find out that they are pain free, educated and able to self- manage. It is very satisfying being involved in improving their conditions and monitoring their progress.”
Brian likes living and working on Bute. He has enjoyed bringing his family up locally with the added benefit of Bute being the ideal place to possibly retire to.
He added: “There is a feeling of safety being part of Bute’s small, friendly community. The area has fantastic indoor amenities and outdoor activities available. There are also great pre-school opportunities, three excellent primary schools and a modern secondary school. The place is very scenic and ideal for people who enjoy walking or any other outdoor pursuits.”