First footcare audit findings released
People with diabetic ulcers who miss their footcare assessments are putting themselves at risk, according to an audit looking at feet.
The first ever National Diabetes Foot Care Audit looked at more than 5,000 people with a diabetic foot ulcer in England and Wales between July 2014 and April 2015.
The findings showed that around half of all people were ulcer-free 12 weeks after their first expert assessment by a specialist foot care service.
But, if they allowed more than two weeks to pass between initial presentation and expert assessment, a patient is significantly less likely to be ulcer-free 12 weeks on.
Dr William Jeffcoate, clinical lead for the audit, said: “This first report from the National Diabetes Foot Care Audit highlights the importance of early expert assessment of all people presenting with a new foot ulcer in diabetes.
The results show that when the time to expert assessment exceeds two weeks, the condition of the ulcer is on average more severe
“The results show that when the time to expert assessment exceeds two weeks, the condition of the ulcer is on average more severe.
“Whilst future audits will no doubt provide further insight, this report will make a valuable contribution towards improving services, and is an important first step in measuring the quality of care provided for diabetic foot disease in England and Wales.”
A total of 3,699 people involved in the audit were referred to specialist services by a GP or other health service, while the remaining 1,516 patients self-referred themselves to the service.
Around 10 per cent of people with diabetes will have a diabetic foot ulcer at some point in their lives, which is thought will cost the NHS £650 million.
The audit report also included an assessment, via a survey, of the local structures for the care of diabetic foot disease provided by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local health boards (LHBs) during October and November 2015.
Approximately 60 per cent of providers responded to all the questions asked in the survey. Of these, 45 per cent (37) did not have all three basic NICE recommended systems for preventing and managing diabetic foot care disease.
The NDFA is part of the National Diabetes Audit, which is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) in partnership with Diabetes UK and is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme.