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As part of a new campaign being launched by The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a display of 20 empty shoes will be helping to stress the importance for diabetics to have daily foot checks.
Between 2013-2016, a total of 16 people in the West Norfolk area had a limb amputated due to complications caused by diabetes. The condition damages the nerves and blood vessels that serve the limbs, which can put them at risk of developing wounds on the feet called ulcers. Foot ulcers precede amputation in over 80 per cent of cases.
Diabetes is a growing problem in West Norfolk with one in five of the hospital’s patients being treated for type 1 or type 2.
The aim of diabetic foot assessments in hospital is to ensure that patients with diabetes do not develop a foot ulcer during their stay, and those who are admitted to hospital with a current foot ulcer get the right care immediately.
Members of Team Queen Elizabeth Hospital are coming together to promote the foot care massage by supporting World Diabetes Day and World Stop Pressure Ulcer Day.
Suzanne Grimes, principal podiatrist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “Our amputation rates in West Norfolk are falling year-on-year but it is so important that people with diabetes attend their GP surgery for annual foot screening and check their feet every day - whether in hospital or not.
“More than 60,000 people with diabetes in England are thought to have foot ulcers at any given time and the cost of diabetic foot disease to the NHS was £1 billion in 2015 and 2015.
“The risk of lower limb amputation is 20 times more likely for someone with diabetes than for people without the condition.
“People with diabetes can get foot problems because there is too much sugar in the blood over a long period of time. This can affect the nerves in the foot, which can prevent a patient from feeling any pain - so they may not be aware that they have a foot problem.
“That is why it is so important for people with diabetes to check their own feet daily or to ask someone else to look them over. If people manage their diabetes well and take good care of their feet, most foot problems can be prevented.”
Vicki Brindle, diabetes specialist nurse, said: “We want to remind people with diabetes to check their feet daily and to empower patients with diabetes that come into hospital to ask for their feet to be checked by a health professional every day.”