Peer urges GP commissioners to prioritise diabetes foot care

GP commissioners must prioritise foot care in diabetes to end the 'scandal' of amputations, a peer has urged.

Baroness Young: 'We want commissioners to adopt the footcare pathways in their commissioning.’
Baroness Young: 'We want commissioners to adopt the footcare pathways in their commissioning.’

Baroness Barbara Young, cross-bench peer and chief executive of Diabetes UK, said clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) must ensure multidisciplinary teams are accessible to both GP practices to refer to and hospitals.

On Wednesday, Baroness Young had described the thousands of preventable amputation among patients with diabetes that occur each year as a ‘national disgrace’ and a ‘scandal’.

Speaking at the launch of the Putting Feet First campaign at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2012 in Glasgow on Thursday, Baroness Young said: 'We want commissioners to adopt the footcare pathways in their commissioning.’

‘About a quarter of hospitals don't have a multidisciplinary foot team. We want people to have access to these teams in all areas.’

Fewer than a third of diabetes patients have their feet checked while in hospital, she said.

‘We would encourage all professionals to look at the care pathway and make sure their practice is fitting in with that, to encourage adoption locally.’

Baroness Young added that although there is a consensus about what needs to improve in diabetes care, there is a lack of agreement on how to go about it.

‘One of the things that seems to me to be very clear about diabetes care in this country is that there is no shortage of agreement about what needs to happen. But there are questions about how it's going to be implemented, about really getting a perspective at a national level that can drive forward very important areas of care, about which we all agree.'

Diabetes UK has called for a national diabetes implementation plan, including monitoring foot care and requiring GPs through the QOF to refer patients to specialist care when appropriate. At present, GPs are only required to assess risk of foot problems, although supporting notes suggest referral in those at high risk of complications such as ulcers.

  • Our reporter Stephen Robinson will be reporting from the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2012 on 8 March. Follow him on Twitter on @sh_robinson, and follow the event hashtag at #dpc12

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