Location: North West England
Location: South East Coast
Leading podiatrists believe that the NHS could be doing more to prevent diabetic patients from needing to have their lower limbs amputated, by prioritising diabetic foot care.
According to a new report from the College of Podiatry, the health service needs to invest more in diabetic foot care, which it believes would help to reduce the number of avoidable amputations that are currently carried out in the UK each year.
Not only do these procedures cause a great deal of pain and distress to patients and their loved ones, they also cost the NHS millions of pounds that it cannot afford to be spending.
Statistics show that 23 people in England will have a toe, foot or leg amputated every day due to complications arising from diabetes mismanagement. One-third of these procedures are classed as major amputations, meaning at least the foot is removed, if not also part of the leg.
Badly infected diabetic foot ulcers are the main factor behind these procedures, which is why experts want to raise awareness of the importance of caring for and preventing the onset of these ailments among the wider health service.
The College of Podiatry has launched a new website this week, at www.improvingdiabeticfootcare.com, where healthcare commissioners can learn more about the extent of amputations across England and how changes in funding and priorities could help to save the NHS much-needed money and safeguard the health of patients.
Dr Paul Chadwick, a consultant podiatrist and clinical director of the College of Podiatry, commented: "The findings of this new commissioning resource shine a spotlight on the stark differences there are in amputation rates between regions - differences that signify a deep human cost for patients and their families, as well as a huge cost burden for our already stretched NHS foot services.
"It is time for commissioners to increase investment in foot protection."
Written by Angela Newbury
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