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Taunton MP Rebecca Pow sees patients benefiting from new Specialist Diabetes Podiatry Service - 18 December 2015

Taunton MP Rebecca Pow sees patients benefiting from new Specialist Diabetes Podiatry Service - 18 December 2015

Rebecca Pow VisitA new service that provides specialist care for diabetes patients with severe foot disease has been visited by Taunton MP Rebecca Pow.

Ms Pow was visiting the new multi-disciplinary specialist diabetes podiatry clinic at Musgrove Park Hospital to see how the recently formed Somerset integrated diabetes foot service is providing care for the feet of people with diabetes and successfully preventing amputations.

Historically, Somerset has had high rates of amputation in patients with diabetes. For the last four years, Musgrove Park Hospital has worked in close collaboration with Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to find a countywide solution to this problem, starting with prevention but also focusing on quick and efficient referral when new foot problems develop. 

The new service includes a patient pathway, increased specialist podiatry provision at community hospitals around the county and specialist multi-disciplinary foot clinics at both Musgrove and Yeovil District Hospital. Rebecca visited the Musgrove service today (Friday, 18 December, 2015) and spent time with a range of team members, visiting the new specialist diabetes podiatry clinic, the new regional vascular unit and the interventional radiology department, to see how angioplasties are performed to unblock arteries in the leg to aid ulcer healing

Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Musgrove, Dr Julia Thomas, said: “We have worked hard over the last few years to create a countywide approach to diabetes foot care.  This focuses on helping people with diabetes take care of their feet and prevent problems developing but also ensures quick access to specialist teams for management if problems do occur.

“We are so pleased that the new service is up and running. We are seeing really great results for our patients, including a dramatic reduction in the number of major limb amputations.”

The new service has streamlined referral pathways so that diabetes patients with known high and intermediate risk feet can directly refer themselves to emergency foot clinics and community podiatrists can directly refer to consultants or for admission (previously these steps had been performed by GPs, delaying time to treatment).  Barriers between community and hospital teams have also been broken down, creating a ‘Super- Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)’ spanning Somerset. 

Speaking after her visit Rebecca said: “It is really great to be able to see the real benefit that this service is having for those with diabetes across Somerset. It was clear to see how hard the teams have worked to provide this highly professional service and the results they are now seeing for their patients in preventing and supporting those with diabetic foot disease is wonderful. This is not only patients getting the right treatment when they need it and seeing better outcomes, it is also saving the NHS money.”

Musgrove Park Hospital’s foot multidisciplinary team would like to remind all individuals with diabetes to ensure they attend their annual foot check at their GP practice.  Diabetes UK has some excellent online resources to help patients with diabetes care for their own feet. These can be found at:

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Monitoring/Feet/

If you have diabetes and develop a break in your skin or signs of infection in your foot, please seek medical advice urgently. If you are known to the Community Podiatry service, you can directly refer yourself by calling 0303 033 3003.

Pictured are: Taunton MP Rebecca Pow (far right) with Dr Julia Thomas (second in from right) and the wider multi-disciplinary specialist diabetes podiatry team with patient Peter Popham.