I am backing Diabetes UK call for local action to ensure everyone with diabetes admitted to hospital receives a foot risk assessment and it is an issue I have already raised with Kevin MaGee of East Lancs Hospitals Trust.
In England hospitals are not giving foot checks to more than two thirds of people with diabetes on admission, despite this being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
I attended Diabetes UK’s foot care event at Westminster, where I heard about foot care for people with diabetes in Hyndburn.
One in every six patients in hospitals in England has diabetes and should be getting a foot risk assessment on admission. Nationally, as only 29 per cent are actually having their feet checked by hospital staff, foot infections or ulcers can potentially be missed and develop unnoticed during their stay.
There are now more than 20 diabetes-related amputations a day in England, many of which could be prevented if the right foot care is in place.
At the event, I met with Ian Piotrowsky, who has had several toes amputated due to his diabetes. Mr Piotrowsky was keen to share his story to highlight the issue of avoidable amputations and help others avoid what he has gone through. He is supporting Diabetes UK’s call for everyone with diabetes who goes into hospital – whether the reason for their stay is diabetes related or not – to be given a foot check on admission.
Diabetes UK is urging NHS Trusts to review their current systems to improve the level of foot risk assessments carried out. Following the NICE guidance has been shown to improve care, and have an impact on hospital acquired ulcers, reducing the length of stay and also saving money.
Diabetes UK has highlighted that the majority of people with diabetes are still not getting a foot risk assessment when they are admitted to hospital, or even at any point during their stay, despite this being a clear recommendation from NICE. It is worrying that such a simple measure which could identify those at risk and protect their feet while in hospital is, in most cases, not occurring.
Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “We are pleased to have MP’s are supporting Diabetes UK on what is a very important issue. The NICE guidance has been shown to improve care, and have an impact on hospital acquired ulcers, reducing the length of stay and also saving money. It makes good sense to check the feet of people with diabetes. This is a group of people who are more likely to be at risk, especially if their admission is diabetes-related. But, even if they are being admitted for another reason, unrelated to their diabetes, they may be more at risk of developing a foot problem while in hospital.”
 Foot risk assessment data comes from the latest National Diabetes Inpatient Audit report, which can be downloaded here
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· Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes. For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit www.diabetes.org.uk
· In the UK, there are an estimated 4.5 million people who have diabetes of which 1.1 million have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed. 11.9 million people are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and if current trends continue, an estimated 5.2 million people will have diabetes by 2025.
· Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in
people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
· People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses - taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity
· People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.
· For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF,3MB)