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Matt Francis relieves the agony of the feet

Matthew Francis has opened Atlantic Podiatry with a specialism in diabetic wound care (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Podiatrist Matt Francis has opened a new clinic with a particular focus on the feet of diabetic patients.

After working in the industry for more than a decade, Mr Francis went out on his own to open Atlantic Podiatry last month on the fourth floor of the Dallas Building on Victoria Street in Hamilton.

While he takes clients of all ages, and with different foot issues, he sees a particular need from diabetics, who can be prone to numbness and tingling in their feet and slow-healing wounds.

“Doctors will often recommend regular diabetic foot checks,” Mr Francis said. “We do diabetic screenings. We check your blood flow, pulses and I write a report and send it to your doctor. We work with the Bermuda Diabetes Centre and the diabetic clinic — the Dream Centre at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Our job is to maintain the feet and catch these issues before they become serious.”

Mr Francis is working on a master’s in wound care and tissue viability through Cardiff University in Wales.

“I would like to start helping more with our local wound care department,” he said. “That qualification helps me to bring in some of the strategies that I helped implement overseas.”

He said the slowest part of setting up the business has been getting everything registered with local insurance companies. All major medical insurance programmes cover podiatry visits, except for the Hospital Insurance Plan.

“HIP only covers the hospital, and they do not have a podiatrist there who works on site,” Mr Francis said.

He said that King Edward VII’s diabetic department does try to address preventive diabetic wound care with advice and education, but it does not have foot wound specialists, such as podiatrists, to assist patients.

“Podiatrists are trained to treat foot wounds, so it would be a more cost-effective and logical thing to have a foot specialist at the hospital,” he said. “Podiatrists are an underutilised resource on the island and could play a much bigger role in preventive care, especially for diabetics.”

He offers a discounted rate for diabetic patients on HIP. He also does home visits for clients who are housebound.

Mr Francis is now sharing office space with Island Nutrition.

The Dallas Building is at present under renovation, but has wheelchair accessibility.

Mr Francis initially qualified as a prosthetist in Edinburgh, Scotland, making prosthetic devices. Then one day he started talking to a podiatrist and realised they had studied similar material at university.

“I was building feet and he was fixing them,” Mr Francis said.

He retrained as a podiatrist because he felt he could help more people. After qualifying, he worked in Scotland for a few years, helping with government diabetes education initiatives. Then his Bermudian wife, Sophie Francis, wanted to return home to the island.

“We moved to the island ten years ago,” Mr Francis said.

When he is not working as a podiatrist, he is a mixologist with the catering company Blind Pig Cocktail Co.

“Podiatry is my sensible job,” Mr Francis explained.


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Published April 17, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated April 18, 2023 at 9:14 am)

Matt Francis relieves the agony of the feet

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