Jonathan Ashworth, MP for Leicester South, and Diabetes UK visited the Diabetic Foot Clinic at King’s College Hospital last week to learn first-hand the seriousness of the complications of diabetes and what can be done to prevent them.
Mr Ashworth toured the clinic, to see how the right care can significantly reduce the number of amputations in people experiencing major foot problems as a result of diabetes-related complications.
People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing problems in their feet because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, affecting how blood flows to the feet and legs. Unhealed ulcers and foot infections are the leading cause of diabetes related amputations, with diabetic foot ulcers preceding more than 80 per cent of amputations.
Diabetes is the most common cause of lower limb amputations in the UK. Someone living with diabetes is 20 times more likely to experience an amputation than someone without the condition.
Mr Ashworth had a tour of the clinic and met with staff including Professor Michael Edmonds, Dr Prashanth Vas, and Dr Chris Manu, Consultant Diabetologists at King’s, and Maureen Bates Podiatry Manager, Mr Hani Slim, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Mr Raju Ahulwalia, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. He also met with patients to watch the latest techniques and technology in action.
Dr Prashanth Vas, Consultant in Diabetes and Diabetes Foot Medicine at King’s, said: “We are a fully integrated multidisciplinary team at King’s, providing open and emergency access for diagnostic assessment and treatment for our patients which means we maintain a very low amputation rate.
“This holistic approach reduces pressure on the emergency department and supports our admission avoidance programme, saving patients from the life altering effects of amputation.
“It is this model of care we would like to see replicated across the country, so patients can get the care they require closer to home and stemming unnecessary amputations occurring in similar patients every 20 seconds.”
Mr Ashworth said: “I commend the hard work and excellent practice of the staff at King’s, whose work is saving limbs and lives every week. It’s clear to me that diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing us as a nation. We have to ensure diabetes teams have the resources they need to tackle and reduce complications, like amputations.
“With more than 10 million at risk of developing Type 2 in future, we also have to do more to prevent the condition completely. This includes more ambitious action from Government to tackle childhood obesity and support people at risk.”
It is vital that all people living with diabetes know how to look after their feet, and check them regularly to look out for the signs of foot problems. It is also crucial that people with diabetes know how important it is to seek medical attention if they spot any signs of foot problems. A matter of hours can make the difference between losing a foot, and keeping a foot.
For more information about the Diabetic Foot Clinic at King’s, visit: www.kch.nhs.uk/service/a-z/diabetes