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Service users asked to share their opinions of diabetic foot care pathway


To mark World Diabetic Foot Day today (8 July 2021), the Diabetes Network for Northern Ireland has launched a Care Opinion survey to give service users, families and carers the opportunity to share their experience of the Diabetic Foot Care Pathway.

There are currently over 100,000 people living with diabetes across the region who are at increased risk of developing diabetic complications including foot problems.

People with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to hospital with a foot ulcer than with any other complication of diabetes.

Diabetes carries an increased risk of amputation, and 80% of amputations are preceded by foot ulcers.  Between 150-200 amputations are carried out in Northern Ireland each year due to diabetes of which around 100 are major amputations.

Established in 2016, the Diabetes Network for Northern Ireland brings together people living with diabetes, their carers and health and social care professionals to work in partnership on the design and delivery of better diabetes services.

In November 2019 the Network launched the Diabetes Foot Care Pathway which enables all adults with diabetes to access the same services no matter where they live in Northern Ireland.  It consists of four steps including annual foot care screening through to advanced foot disease care and treatment with a focus on the prevention of ulcers and amputations which will ultimately reduce hospital admissions.

Dr Hamish Courtney, Consultant Diabetologist and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Network explained: “Foot disease is a complication of diabetes and can cause extreme pain, ulcers, amputations, disability and increased mortality.  When treated in a timely and effective manner however many, if not all of these complications can be significantly reduced or avoided.

“Following diagnosis and an initial assessment by a podiatrist, patients received an individual care plan with yearly screening to check foot health. If problems are identified during the review the patient will be referred to the appropriate step on the Pathway and cared for by an appropriate healthcare professional depending on their need.

“It has been over 18 months since the pathway was lunched and we are now keen to know what service users think, we want to hear not only about what has worked well, but also about the times when things could have been better. I would encourage people to use the platform and make their voice heard.”

Care Opinion is an independent non-profit feedback platform for HSC, supported by Department of Health and implemented by the Public Health Agency (PHA), which will enable users, and their families, to give feedback on their care and share their stories with others.

Tina McCrossan, National Director for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said, “The Regional Diabetic Foot Care Pathway was successfully launched in 2019 and we’re really keen to see how this service has been working across all the Trusts.

“We, in the Diabetes Network for Northern Ireland, want to hear from you about your experience of the service and would encourage you to take part in Care Opinion survey. Your feedback is important to us and will help influence how the service continues to improve. This is a great opportunity to have your say and share your experiences of care, whether that has been positive or negative, so please do take part and provide your valued opinion on the services that matter to you.”

Care Opinion will treat your story confidentially. The only personal detail you have to share with Care Opinion is your email address and they will keep this confidential. Your story will appear using a screen name on the public website and your anonymity will remain protected at all time.

For further information or to leave your feedback please visit www.careopinion.org.uk. Stories can also be shared by calling the Care Opinion Freephone number 0800 122 3135 or completing a freepost feedback leaflet.