A new service aimed at reducing the number of diabetic patients who need to have lower-limb amputations has been launched at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton.
Research has found that 20% of diabetics on dialysis in Nottinghamshire have needed amputations, with half of those losing at least one leg.
Many of the patients were found to have mobility problems which meant a struggle to access community podiatry services aimed at treating foot problems.
Combined with the large time-commitment of having dialysis three or four times a week, sometimes for up to six hours a day, they were finding it difficult to attend community clinics, or arrange convenient home-visits to have vital podiatry care.
The new service, which will also be offered at Nottingham City Hospital, will provide podiatry treatment for patients while they undergo haemodialysis.
Lisa Metcalf, specialist podiatrist for the Health Partnerships organisation, said “This is a completely new way of working for us -- providing community care on hospital premises.
“We’ve had fantastic support to get the service up and running, and the feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The cost of one lower-limb amputation is estimated at £24,000. If we can prevent even one leg from being amputated, the service will be a success.
“The cost of providing this service is considerably less than £24,000, and the benefit to patients in terms of quality of life and keeping them mobile is immeasurable”.
So far, more than 90 patients have used the service, while seven podiatrists from the Health Partnerships organisation have been involved. At King’s Mill, some patients have even received specialist footwear without needing a referral from their GP, saving time and getting care provided sooner.
The service is on trial until the end of February but might become permanent after that.