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A Fond Farewell To Sandra Jones, Podiatry Diabetes Coordinator

20th June 2022

NHS Highland bid a fond farewell to Sandra Jones, Podiatry Diabetes Coordinator, this month as she retired after working 46 years of working in Podiatry, the last 36 of them with NHS Highland - 47 when you include the year she spent with us in the 70's.
Straight after graduating from the Edinburgh Foot Clinic and School of Chiropody Sandra started in Wick Medical Centre in 1796 before a move to NHS England a year later. Ten years later she was back at the Wick Medical Centre after her husband secured a job as an analytical chemist based at Dounreay.

Sandra said: "The podiatry profession was moving forward very quickly and I have always been a strong advocate for professional development.

“I was one of the first Allied Health Professionals (AHP) in NHS Highland to become an accredited clinical leader having completed the Clinical Leadership course under the tutelage of Jenny Lobban, Karen Hamilton, and Stephen Loch in 2005. I was also one of the first AHPs in NHS Highland to become an Independent Prescriber in 2008 and one of the first podiatrists to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Podiatrists in Podiatric Medicine in 2011.

“In 2003 my role changed from being a generalist podiatrist to become Podiatry Diabetes Coordinator. This involved not only representing Highland, and remote & rural services, on various national diabetes working groups it also allowed me to influence the strategic outcomes from those groups and bring that back to podiatry and diabetes services across NHS Highland. My interest in diabetes began following the diagnosis of both my children with Type 1 diabetes when they were three years old - they are 37 and 33 now."

She added: “Clinically I’ve been the lead podiatrist for the multi-disciplinary diabetes foot service delivered from Raigmore. I have worked with the Caithness & Sutherland diabetes team and supported Caithness General’s vascular outpatient clinics. All of this has ensured I maintained Highland wide links benefitting patients and professionals equally.

“Having a ‘can do’ attitude and a strong affinity for education led me to organising, and delivering, in-house annual seminars for podiatrists, the diabetes foot education network, and being part of the diabetes education and training group.

“I have been chairperson of the Highland Branch of the Royal College of Podiatry for several years; this group has hosted the Podiatry Scottish One Day Conference in 2009 in Aviemore and 2016 in Inverness. We were scheduled to host the 2020 event but understandably that was cancelled.

“The pandemic has not only created barriers but has created opportunities to change and, whilst I have never been averse to change, I felt the time was right to delegate responsibilities to podiatrists who deserve the chance to have the opportunities I had. I leave a team which I know will continue to deliver, and develop, first class podiatric services to the population of Highland.”

Colleagues were quick to wish Sandra all the best in her retirement.

Professor Sandra MacRury, Honorary Consultant Diabetologist and Endocrinologist based at Raigmore Hospital, said: “Sandra has been a wonderful colleague and it has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with such a long-serving and committed health care professional over the years as the Highland Diabetes Foot service has evolved. Sandra’s drive and insight has been crucial in the development of the multi-disciplinary patient-centred approach to foot care across Highland region and as a contributor to diabetes foot care strategies at a national level. Sandra will be hugely missed by the diabetes service however she has been a great role model and mentor for her colleagues ensuring the legacy of a well-established and enthusiastic diabetes foot team.”

Iona McGauran, Lead Nurse at Raigmore Hospital (now retired), said: “lf of the NHSH Tissue Viability Leadership Group I would like to wish Sandra a very long and happy retirement. She has made a significant contribution to the group giving us a very clear steer on the most up to date developments within podiatry services which shaped the decision making of the group. Sandra's expert clinical advice kept the group fully informed which gave assurance that plans for services were the most up to date they could be. The patient is always at the centre of all the advice and direction she gives the group. Sandra is the ultimate professional and has been highly respected by her colleagues on the group. She is an excellent role model and it is clear the support she gives to other podiatrists within the service.”

Rebecca Banks, Podiatry Professional Lead, North Division, NHS Highland, said: “The North podiatry team (Caithness and Sutherland) and NHS Highland podiatry would like to wish Sandra the very best on her retirement. Sandra has been an integral part of NHS Highland podiatry and has played a vital role in shaping the service to better meet the needs of our patients, particularly with regard to diabetes care. A very strong leader, team member and mentor to many. Sandra’s drive and passion to improve the podiatry service in the North without compromising on quality of patient care has been an inspiration to others. Sandra has always been willing to share her extensive knowledge and has offered support and encouragement to everyone she has worked with; these qualities meant Sandra was also a very effective representative for NHS Highland podiatry on a local and national level. For these reasons – and many more - Sandra will be sadly missed by her many colleagues. Whilst there is sadness as Sandra moves onto the next exciting stage of her life, she should also be incredibly proud of her role within a team that will continue to provide the best quality of care to patients throughout the Highlands.”