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Pilot programme boosts foot checks in diabetes inpatients

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A pilot project in the South West of England has led to a four-fold increase in diabetes inpatients receiving foot checks, according to study results.

Seven trusts in the region launched an education programme for staff, set a standard method of checking feet and improved the recording process for checks.

“We hope that by implementing this new approach permanently will help to avoid unnecessary amputations”

Phaedra Perry

Clinicians designed awareness raising posters for wards, arranged presentations for staff and promoted foot checks through social media.


The initiative resulted in the number of diabetes patients on pilot wards receiving foot assessments within 24 hours of admission increase from 6% to 25% over six months.

The trusts involved were University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospital Bath Trust, Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust, Great Western Hospital Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust, Weston Area Health Trust, and North Bristol Trust.

The results were displayed last week at the Diabetes UK professional conference in Liverpool.

Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK regional manager for the south west, said: “We hope that by implementing this new approach permanently will help to avoid unnecessary amputations.”

The charity is running a campaign, called Putting Feet First, which aims to reduce diabetes-related amputations across the UK.

According to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, all patients with diabetes in hospital should have a foot assessment during their stay.

Diabetes UK is also focusing on routine diabetes foot health in primary care and is encouraging both patients and clinicians to look out for warning signs of problems, such as ulcers.

It has launched a new patient information booklet – called “How to Spot a Foot Attack” – about signs of active foot disease that can lead to amputation if left untreated. Copies will be sent to every GP surgery in the country.


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