People with diabetes are much more likely to develop problems with their feet as high blood sugars can damage blood circulation and the feeling in their feet. If left untreated diabetic patients can develop foot ulcers, infections and, at worst, it can lead to amputation.
There are around 25 major (above or below the knee) amputations performed each year across the county due to diabetes. Statistics show 4 out of 5 amputations can be prevented. This is why new clinics are being run at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, bringing together the expertise of vascular and orthopaedic surgeons, podiatrists, research nurses, radiology, microbiology, cast technicians and orthotics.
Mr Murali Subramaniam is a Vascular Surgeon on the team. He said: “A diabetic patient is 16 times more at risk of having a limb amputation than a non-diabetic of the same age.
“Time is so important in these cases and having to wait for a referral to the diabetes foot team or vascular team could make a real difference between a patient keeping their foot or having to have it amputated. It really is that serious.
“By having these clinics a patient can come in see a diabetes doctor, have their foot treated by the podiatrist, they can seek the advice of the vascular team and can have scans, treatments and check-ups all in one visit.”
Dr Ammar Tarik is a Consultant Diabetologist at ULHT and knows just how much of a difference the clinics are going to make. He said: “By working so closely together we can prevent the risk of amputation it is as simple as that.
“It also has a positive impact on our patients general health, reduces mortality, reduces the number of hospital admissions, means fewer hospital outpatient visits for patients and improves their quality of life.
“Despite only running for a few weeks we are confident that we are going to see the new clinics having a positive impact, not only on the state of our patients’ feet but also their overall health.”
For more information about diabetes please ask your pharmacist or GP, you can also visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/