New one-stop foot clinics in Lincolnshire are already seeing results, just weeks after being set up to help prevent amputations in people with diabetes.
People with diabetes are much more likely to develop problems with their feet, as high blood sugars can damage blood circulation and the feeling in their feet. If left untreated patients can develop foot ulcers, infections and, at worst, it can lead to amputation.
There are around 25 major (above or below the knee) amputations performed each year in Lincolnshire due to diabetes.
Statistics show that 80 per cent of amputations can be prevented. This is why new clinics are being run at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, bringing together the expertise of vascular and orthopaedic surgeons, podiatrists, research nurses, radiology, microbiology, cast technicians and orthotics.
Mr Murali Subramaniam, a Vascular Surgeon on the team, said: “A diabetic patient is 16 times more at risk of having a limb amputation than a non-diabetic person of the same age.
“Time is so important in these cases and having to wait for a referral to the diabetes foot team or vascular team could make a real difference between a patient keeping their foot or having to have it amputated. It really is that serious.
“By having these clinics, a patient can come in see a diabetes doctor, have their foot treated by the podiatrist, seek the advice of the vascular team and can have scans, treatments and check-ups all in one visit.”
Dr Ammar Tarik, a Consultant Diabetologist at ULHT, added: “By working so closely together we can prevent the risk of amputation - it is as simple as that.
“It also has a positive impact on our patients’ general health, reduces mortality, reduces the number of hospital admissions, means fewer hospital outpatient visits for patients and improves their quality of life.
“Despite only running for a few weeks we are confident that we are going to see the new clinics having a positive impact, not only on the state of our patients’ feet but also their overall health.”
For more information about diabetes, speak to your pharmacist or GP, or visit ww.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/