According to the government’s own Hutton report of 2011 which stated that around 30% of all orthotics including footwear prescribed through the NHS is not worn or otherwise discarded, costing the NHS around £35million pounds annually. That report entitled ‘improving service provision’ however has not had the desired effect in terms of the improvement of patient’s perception and satisfaction. Increasingly those concerned are seeking an alternative supplier for their footwear needs and reconnect with the skills and expertise they understand would help them solve their problems.
Philip Taylor, owner of The Cordwainer, has been making orthopaedic footwear since the tender age of eleven. He had contracted polio at the age of two and since then has had to wear the kind of boots his company makes today, having learned his skills at the Treloar College in Hampshire which is still inspiring disabled children to make a positive contribution to the world. It is this special empathy and understanding of the needs and wishes of disabled people that dictates the way the work is done.
In the past few years The Cordwainer has expanded both in terms of team building and business development. Along with three new and enthusiastic apprentices, all of whom with degrees in footwear technology and design, come new ideas and technology. The use of 3D scanning technology being used alongside traditional methods of measuring feet has increased the accuracy of the lasts used to make the shoes and boots, along with a range of new materials, leathers and machinery which now mean The Cordwainer can offer a range of vegan footwear and traditional hand welted men’s boots and shoes.
So what difference does it make? Maybe you should ask 26 year old Andrew who had been provided with five pairs of shoes in seven years by his hospital, but could wear none of them. Each and every pair were a different shape and size, and each pair caused pain in the feet, and cost the NHS in the region of £5000.00 in terms of wasted products and clinical appointments. After three visits this young man had the shoes he needed to get on with his life. Maybe you could also ask 14 year old Owen whose parents had been more successful adapting his footwear following the loss of all his metatarsals due to a birth condition, the NHS contractor did not have the skills to be able to make the correct footwear. In both these cases the NHS looked again at the situation and changed their mind to allow these young men to receive the footwear they needed after all.
All the services provided by The Cordwainer are available through the NHS, although access is at the discretion of the local service provider.
Visit The Cordwainer on stand 4242 at Naidex.