A diabetes foot care team in Exeter has been presented with a top NHS award for lowering amputation rates below the national average.
The Integrated Diabetic Footcare Faculty (IDFF) was given the NHS Health Education England Innovation Champion Star Award, which recognises the very best in education and training across the health and care sector in the south west.
The ceremony celebrates both individuals and teams which have provided excellent healthcare or public health services for NHS patients and services.
The IDFF initiative, which was set up in 2012, beings together healthcare professionals in podiatry services who focus on development and structured education.
Before the network was introduced, only 26 per cent of practice and community nurses in the area said they had been educated about diabetic foot assessments. A link between minor amputations and late referrals was also found.
Sarah Clauso, who is a complex care and rheumatology podiatrist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust, explained: “We are a voluntary organisation which is thought to have contributed to lowering the amputation rate in East Devon from 1.4 in 2012 to 0.6 in 2017, which is lower than the national average of 0.8.”
The way they did this was by developing a series of education tools for healthcare professionals, which have now been extended for people with diabetes.
The eLearning package allows people to follow different stages throughout the diabetic foot assessment, ensuring they have completed knowledge check points and followed the local pathway route for diabetic foot care.
People with diabetes in the area have also been given access cards so in an emergency, healthcare professionals know how to treat them and have their contact details to hand.
Miss Clauson outlined the future plans of the faculty. She said: “We are looking for opportunities to work in conjunction with pan peninsula medical school and college of nursing to train first year students via the eLearning. We would like to see a national standard set for education and we aim to contact the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to help develop this.”

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