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People with diabetes benefiting from more hospital foot care teams

Access to specialist foot care in UK hospitals has improved considerably over the last three years, according to the latest National Diabetes Inpatient Audit (NaDIA) report.
In 2011, roughly 4 out of every 10 hospitals (41.7%) did not have a specialist foot care team in place, despite the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) stating that every hospital (providing emergency medical care) should have one.
But the new report reveals that figure has now fallen to 28.2%, with diabetes patients among those who have benefited from this large increase in specialist foot care services.
Much of this improvement has been attributed to the charity group Diabetes UK, which over the last three years has been working with local services and people with diabetes in areas without access to specialist foot care teams to highlight their importance.
Through its ‘Putting Feet First’ campaign, the charity has shown local NHS organisations evidence that clearly demonstrates how having a multi-disciplinary foot care team (MDFT) helps to prevent serious foot complications, including life-changing lower limb amputations, and saves the NHS money.
The NaDIA report states: “As part of Diabetes UK’s ‘Putting Feet First’ campaign, trusts reporting in their NaDIA audit to have no MDFT [multi-disciplinary foot care team] were made known in the local media. This negative reporting may account for the fall in sites without a MDFT to 28.2%.”
Commenting on the positive findings, Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “People with diabetes are at especially high risk of developing problems with their feet, so it is vital that if this happens then they are quickly seen by a team of specialists. Yet this has not been happening across the board and this is why we decided to campaign on this issue.
“We are delighted that so many hospitals have now put one of these teams in place, because it should mean that people with diabetes are less likely to need an amputation than previously.”
She added that the charity “will continue to work with local services on this issue until every hospital can guarantee quick access to one of these teams,” and stressed the importance of focusing on every aspect of diabetic foot care in order to reduce the “unacceptably high” amputation rate in people with diabetes.

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