WORKFORCE: One of the founders of the UK’s first department of podiatric surgery is set to retire this month after 28 years working in Herefordshire.

Consultant Tom Galloway became interested in foot problems after suffering from an in-growing toenail as a youngster and after training to be a chiropodist studied for another 10 years to become one of the first Consultant Podiatric Surgeons in the UK.

Podiatric surgeons are non-medically qualified specialist in foot surgery and during his time at Hereford County Hospital the department has seen 38,000 patients and operated on almost 20,000.

Patients are referred by their GPs and the most common ailments during this period have been bunions and hammer-toes.

The unit has had its own stand-alone day-case theatre which opened in 1993, the first in the UK.

Mr Galloway, who was made an honorary professor of Salford University three years ago in recognition of his work, leads the department of five consultant podiatric surgeons seeing patients from as far afield as Liverpool, London and Southampton.

He said: “I’m proud to have worked with such an excellent team. I leave the department in good hands in the certain knowledge that my colleagues are committed to continue our success.”