West Suffolk: Call for a specialist diabetic footcare team

DIABETICS could be at a higher risk of having foot amputations because West Suffolk Hospital does not have a specialist diabetes footcare team, it has been revealed.

The hospital is on a National Diabetes Inpatient Audit list of hospitals that do not have a multi-disciplinary footcare team (MDT) for patients with diabetes, despite it being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

According to Diabetes UK, having MDTs ensures quick referrals to reduce the amputation rate in diabetics, which is more than 20 times higher than in people without the condition.

Diabetes UK has written a letter to West Suffolk Hospital’s chief executive, Stephen Graves, asking what provisions the hospital has in place.

Sharon Roberts, of Diabetes UK, said: “Everyone agrees that specialist hospital footcare teams are important for preventing amputations and can save the NHS money.

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“This is why it is appalling that West Suffolk Hospital is letting down people with diabetes by still not having these provisions in place.

“It is a tragic example of short-termism that it is failing to invest in an MDT within the hospital to deliver quality access to co-ordinated footcare within the local area, despite the fact that the financial savings from doing fewer amputations is likely to outweigh the cost of setting one up.”

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One cause for the high levels of preventable amputations is that diabetic foot problems can deteriorate rapidly which is why diabetics who have foot or leg ulcers should be referred to an MDT within 24 hours.

Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “We have an established multi-disciplinary team which meets every fortnight to discuss care and treatment plans for every patient with a diabetic foot ulcer. This multi-disciplinary team covers both inpatients and outpatients at West Suffolk Hospital.

“We also work closely with Suffolk Community Healthcare’s podiatry team and one of our diabetes consultants runs a specialist foot clinic every week and will prioritise any urgent referrals.

“We are always looking to make improvements to our services and introduce best practice wherever possible so that our patients can continue to access high-quality care.”

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