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Dorset County Hospital Criticised By Diabetes UK

Dorset County Hospital

7:43am 21st August 2012
(Updated 8:15am 21st August 2012)

A row's broken out over how best to care for diabetes patients in Dorset.

Diabetes UK say the Dorset County Hospital haven't got a specialist team based there to help prevent possible foot amputations, something which can occur in patients.

The hospital's refuted the claim and says due to their outreach policy they've reduce the amount of limb loss by half over the last 3 years.

Here's our full interview with Dorset County's Director of Nursing Alison Tong:

But according to Diabetes UK, the hospital is on a National Diabetes Inpatient Audit list of hospitals that do not have a multi-disciplinary footcare team (MDTs) for patients with diabetes despite this being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. According to Diabetes UK, having these teams in place to ensure quick referral can help reduce the amputation rate in people with diabetes, which is more than 20 times higher than in people without the condition.

NHS Dorset has a high major amputation rate for people with diabetes. There are 1.47 major amputations per 1,000 compared with the average rate in England of 0.99 per 1,000 people with diabetes per year. 

One of the reasons for the high levels of preventable amputations is that diabetic foot problems can deteriorate very quickly and this is why people with diabetes who have foot or leg ulcers should be referred to an MDT within 24 hours. There is evidence that MDTs are effective at preventing diabetic amputations and they can also save the NHS money because amputations are so expensive to treat.

Diabetes UK is calling for Dorset County Hospital to establish an MDT ensuring appropriate systems are in place to respond to referrals within 24 hours and it will be writing to the chief executive of Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to request a meeting to discuss the issue. It is also urging people write to Jean O’Callaghan to add their voice for the hospital to establish a  MDT and ensure referral within 24 hours.

Graham Cooper, South West Regional Manager for Diabetes UK, said: “Everyone agrees that specialist hospital footcare teams are important for preventing amputations and can save the NHS money. This is why it is appalling that Dorset County Hospital is letting down people with diabetes by still not having these provisions in place.

“It is a tragic example of short-termism that it is failing to invest in an MDT within the hospital to deliver quality access to co-ordinated foot care within the local area despite the fact that the financial savings from doing fewer amputations is likely to outweigh the cost of setting one up.

“These teams have been shown to work and we need to make sure they are in place in Dorset County Hospital so we can stop people in Dorset unnecessarily having to go through the trauma and loss of mobility that comes from having a foot amputated.

“I will be writing to the chief executive of Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to ask what provisions the hospital has in place and if these do not allow referral  within 24 hours then demand it establishes one of these teams. We also want to let people with diabetes who live near the hospital to know about this because if they develop a foot ulcer then having one of these teams in place could literally mean the difference between them keeping a foot and losing it. I would urge them to write to Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to make their feelings known and so add their voices to ours.”

People in Dorset can email  to find out how they can contact the trust to ask for one to be established.

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