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Innovation to reduce diabetic foot amputations in south London

Every day 23 people in England have a toe, foot or leg amputation as a result of diabetes related complications, according to NHS England. Through faster diagnosis and treatment this shocking intervention can be reduced.

In south London specialist new diabetic foot clinics known as Multi-Disciplinary Foot Teams (MDFTs) have been set up to deliver faster, local treatment to help reduce the number of people facing amputations.  Located in Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup; Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley, these services are providing urgent specialist care (within 24 hours) to people who have active foot disease. Research shows that if left untreated for long, diabetic foot infection can lead to further complicaitons and in increasing number, amputations, which could be avoided. “Time is tissue’ when it comes to this disease.

The new clinics are being supported by consultant diabetologists, vascular surgeons and specialist podiatrists from Kings College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’s and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, in order to improve the care that patients receive and bring it closer to their home. This also supports the existing community podiatry teams that can develop relationships with their local MDFT to streamline plans and treatment.

This innovative approach recognises it is not just podiatrists who come into contact with diabetic foot problems. It’s vital that other primary care clinicians can diagnose the condition and refer for specialist treatment quickly.

The new MDFT clinics are for active foot disease only– including:

  • Any foot Ulceration
  • Acute Charcot foot (hot/swollen/painful foot)
  • Necrosis
  • Any foot Infection.

To refer, please use eRS for Diabetic Medicine (Speciality), Podiatry and Foot (Clinic Type) and Urgent (Priority) to see the spoke MDFT clinics at QEW, PRUH and QMS.  You can see the Directory of Services here, a video about the new clinics here and learn how to conduct a foot screening in primary care here.

For further information please contact Don Shenker, Diabetes Project Manager, Health Innovation Network.

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