NHS Diabetes calls for introduction of specialist foot care teams

A report published by NHS Diabetes has announced the NHS spent an estimated £639 million–£662 million on diabetic foot ulceration and amputation in 2010–11.

Each year around 6 000 people with diabetes have leg, foot or toe amputations in England, substantially reducing their quality of life.

However, many of these are avoidable. The NHS Diabetes report suggests rapid access to multidisciplinary foot care teams (MDTs) with strong links to community podiatry services could lead to faster healing, fewer amputations and improved survival.

The reduction in NHS expenditure on diabetic foot problems as a result of the introduction of such services would far outstrip the cost of having MDTs.

Lower-extremity amputation rates at James Cook University, Middlesbrough, fell by two-thirds after the introduction of an MDT.

In 2010-2011 it was estimated that the cost of an MDT was £33 000, whereas the annual saving to the NHS due to averted amputation was £249 000.

Currently, one-fifth of hospitals providing inpatient care for people with diabetes have no MDT.

Anne Morton, Director of NHS Diabetes said: ‘It is not acceptable that thousands of people with diabetes lose a limb each year because of poor quality care. It is even less easy to accept when we now have such a strong economic case for change.’

Taken from Practice Nursing, published 19 Mar 2013.

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