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Northern Ireland launches new Footcare Pathway

By Editor
23rd January 2020
Care planning, Footcare Good practice

A new Footcare Pathway to improve services for adults living with diabetes has been released in Northern Ireland. 

Published by the Diabetes Network for Northern Ireland, the pathway enables all adults with diabetes to access the same services no matter where they live in the country.

It consists of four steps, including annual footcare screenings, advanced foot disease care and treatment with a focus on the prevention of ulcers and amputations which will ultimately reduce hospital admissions.

Dr Hamish Courtney, Consultant Diabetologist and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Network said: “Foot disease is a complication of diabetes and can cause extreme pain, ulcers, amputations, disability and increased mortality. When treated in a timely and effective manner however many, if not all of these complications can be significantly reduced or avoided.

“Following diagnosis and an initial assessment by a podiatrist, patients will receive an individual care plan with yearly screening to check foot health. If problems are identified during the review the patient will be referred to the appropriate step on the Pathway and cared for by an appropriate healthcare professional depending on their need.

“Keeping a close eye on your feet is very important and you should take time to do this every day – Your Feet Your Care.”

Ken Reid, a Political Correspondent who lives with diabetes said: “This is an important initiative as foot care must be a top priority for diabetic patients. Speaking as someone who lost a toe through ignoring the problem, it is essential feet are checked daily. Problems must be dealt with quickly and the new Pathway will ensure the best of treatment.”

Challenging chronic conditions

Attending the launch of the new initiative, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBridesaid: “The Department recognises that diabetes is one of the most challenging chronic conditions facing people in Northern Ireland and the impact the condition has at both a population and individual level.

“The Diabetes Foot Care Pathway has been established as an action from the Diabetes Strategic Framework. It will provide opportunities for all patients to access structured foot health education and offer timely access to outpatient, inpatient and day-case services and ultimately improve outcomes of those living with diabetes.”

Key partner of the Diabetes Network, Dr David Chaney, Assistant Director for Local Impact at Diabetes UK said: “The new Pathway is a welcome step in the prevention of diabetes-related amputations and improvement of access to foot care for people living with the condition in Northern Ireland. Diabetes-related complications, including amputations, can be devastating but they can be prevented with the right treatment and support.

“Thanks to the work of the Diabetes Network, together with people with diabetes and healthcare professionals this pathway will offer timely intervention, care and support when needed, significantly improving quality of life for those with the condition.”

Podiatrist Avril Black from the Southern HSC Trust said: “This is an important initiative as foot care must be a top priority for diabetic patients.  It will provide opportunities for all adults living with diabetes to access foot health services and offer timely access to outpatient, inpatient and community podiatry services for people with diabetic foot complications and ultimately improve the outcomes and quality of life for those living with diabetes.”

For further information on the diabetes foot care pathway log click here: hscboard.hscni.net/diabetes-network

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