Pensioner Picks Toenail DisputeSource: BBC News Online
Mr Bochel was advised to have his toenails removed
A pensioner in the Highlands has claimed he was advised to have his toenails removed rather than wait for a chiropody appointment.
Aleck Bochel, aged 82, from Nairn, had his appointments cut in half when the health authority phased out the treatment of low priority patients.
Local MSP Mary Scanlon said it was a sinister attempt to reduce waiting lists. But NHS Highland chief podiatrist Mary Macleod defended the move.
"We would rather be dealing with patients with major problems, diabetic issues and ulceration. We also do acupuncture and insoles," she said.
"These take time and the truth is, if we're doing non-podiatry need - which is simple nail-cutting - we're not doing that."
I thought the system was there to help get your nails repairedl
Mr Bochel said he could not believe it when asked if he would consider getting his toenails removed.
The war veteran said: "I was shocked. I went through the war and never had anything like that done to me. "I thought the system was there to help get your nails repaired - I don't think it's an insurmountable job."
Mrs Scanlon, a Conservative list MSP for Highlands and Islands, questioned the health trust's policy. "It sounds more like torture, 'have your toenails removed and you don't need to bother us again'," she said.
"I think with the severity of the cuts in chiropody in the Highlands, this is another measure to get people off the waiting list."