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People with diabetes in Gloucestershire are being asked how local footcare could be improved to reduce the risk of major health problems such as amputation through a series of 'listening events' across the county.

Diabetes UK and Gloucestershire Care Services will run meetings in September and October in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester, the Forest of Dean and Stroud.  The events are designed to find out what kind of podiatry services local people are receiving, any improvements they feel are needed and to offer advice on how people can best care for their own feet.

A podiatrist from Gloucestershire Care Services will be at each meeting to provide expert information. Most meetings are being hosted by local Diabetes UK voluntary groups, which provide support and advice for people in the area with the condition. 

Diabetes UK’s Putting Feet First campaign, launched earlier this year, highlights the dangers of poor footcare for people with diabetes. People living with the condition are at a higher risk of problems with their feet, and it is estimated they are up to 30 times more likely to have an amputation compared to the general population.

The campaign aims to ensure that people with diabetes are involved in their own care, know how to look after their feet, and that commissioners of health services provide the right footcare at the right time.

It also calls for healthcare professionals to understand the risk of diabetic foot problems and provide annual foot checks for all those with diabetes.

Graham Cooper, Diabetes UK South West Regional Manager, said: “These meetings are very important events for the more than 37,500 people affected by diabetes in the area. As our Putting Feet First campaign has highlighted, foot problems can have a devastating impact on people with the condition. We want people with diabetes to know how best to avoid this problems.

“Another important aspect is finding out what kind of services people are receiving at the moment and if improvements are needed. We want to ensure that all people with diabetes are getting the right care. We know up to 80 per cent of diabetes related amputations are potentially preventable. Even a single unnecessary amputation is one too many.”

Alex Harrington, Clinical Lead Podiatrist with Gloucestershire Care Services and a member of the National NHS diabetes Foot care Network said: “We are delighted that Diabetes UK is working hard to raise awareness through their Putting Feet First campaign and are pleased to be working together. It is really important for people with diabetes to make sure they look after their feet and have a thorough annual foot health check. We are keen to hear people’s experience of screening and to see if there are ways in which it can be improved.”

There are 28,502 people in Gloucestershire with diagnosed diabetes. A further 9,000 are estimated to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Bob Watford, who lives and works in Cheltenham during the week, has suffered from foot problems since his diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes seven years ago. The electronic engineer suffers from neuropathy, which causes numbness on the soles of his feet, and a feeling of tightness in the skin over his feet and calves.
Bob, 60, said: “My foot problems have affected my balance so if I am walking on uneven ground I now use a stick. It does have quite an impact on my everyday life. I check my feet every morning and evening to make sure that I don’t have cuts or damage that I may not have felt. It is so important for people with diabetes to check their feet regularly and get the healthcare they need to avoid problems in the future.”
Find out more about the Putting Feet First campaign at www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Campaigning/Putting-feet-first/

The meetings:

  • Wednesday 19th September, 7.30pm – 9.00pm
  • Sandford Road Education Centre, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham GL53 7PU
  • Wednesday 26th September, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
  • Seminar Room, Querns House, Cirencester GL7 1UY
  • Monday 1st October, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
  • Sling Club, Sling, Coleford Forest of Dean GL16 8JH
  • Thursday 11th October, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
  • Edward Jenner Court, Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth,
  • Gloucester GL3 4AW
  • Wednesday 17th October 7.00pm - 8.30pm
  • The Stonehouse Court Hotel, Bristol Road, Stonehouse

For further media information please contact Erin Dean on 01823 448260 or the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 020 7424 1165.

Notes to editor:

1 Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes.  For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit www.diabetes.org.uk 

2 In the UK, there are 3.7 million people with diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it.  As many as 7 million people are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and if current trends continue, an estimated 4 million people will have diabetes by 2015. 

3 Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.  If not managed in the correct way, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

4 Type 1 diabetes develops if the body cannot produce any insulin.  Type 1 diabetes usually appears before the age of 40, especially in childhood.  It is the less common of the two types of diabetes and accounts for around 10 per cent of all people with diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and it is not known why exactly it develops.  Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses - taken either by injections or via an insulin pump – a healthy diet and regular physical activity. 

5 Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).  Risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes include family history, ethnicity, being overweight or having a large waist, high blood pressure, heart disease or having had a heart attack.  This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people it often appears from the age of 25.  Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two main types and accounts for around 90 per cent of people with diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity.  In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.