Hospitals failing to invest in vital diabetes foot care services

Tue, 31 Jul 2012
A shortage of specialist foot care services is putting diabetes patients at higher risk of foot amputation, a charity group has warned.

Diabetes UK recently surveyed 206 hospitals across England and Wales and found that 84 have no specialist diabetes foot care teams in place.

It said every hospital needs a multi-disciplinary footcare team (MDT) to treat diabetics with problems such as foot ulcers and prevent them from suffering the "trauma and loss of mobility" that comes from having a foot amputated.

However, its research showed that 75 hospitals in England and nine in Wales have not set up an MDT, despite the measure being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Everyone agrees that specialist hospital footcare teams are important for preventing amputations and can save the NHS money. This is why it is appalling that so many hospitals are letting down people with diabetes by still not having one of these teams in place.

"It is a tragic example of the short-term approach of some hospitals that they are failing to invest in an multi-disciplinary foot-care team despite the fact that the financial savings from doing fewer amputations is likely to outweigh the cost of setting up one of these teams.

"We will be writing to the chief executives of the trusts of these hospitals to ask what provisions they have in place, and if these do not allow 24 hour access, demand they establish one of these teams."

She added that the group will also inform people with diabetes who live near these hospitals about the situation and "urge them to write to their local hospital trust to make their feelings known".
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