Big changes to foot care services for diabetes patients in North East Essex

People with diabetes across North East Essex will soon have access to a better integrated service to help manage foot complications. The improvements being made will mean that patients who have a higher risk and difficulties with their feet will get specialist care quicker when they need it.

The enhancements to the service provided by NEEDS (North East Essex Diabetes Service) in partnership with Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) and Colchester Hospital will comply with the new 2016 NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidance on foot care. Feet will be examined to determine a risk score and then the treatment and care patients receive will be tailored to their specific needs.

Dr Charles Bodmer, Diabetes Consultant at Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for the NEEDS foot care service, said: “As a consultant in Diabetes and Clinical Lead for feet, I am very pleased with developments we have been making over the last 2 years to provide the highest quality services for people with diabetes in our District. The changes for foot care bring together the specialists who are needed to help reduce the burden of foot disease and amputation. Emphasising the need for self-care of feet by individuals themselves is vitally important, and is a core element of the Diabetes UK Putting feet First campaign.”

Following the new guidance from NICE, nail cutting is no longer routinely offered at podiatry clinics. However, patients will be supported to self-manage so that they can take the best care of their feet, know how to spot problems and know when to ask for help.

Heather Pearce, Assistant Director at ACE commented: “As the main provider of Community Podiatry Services in North East Essex, we are pleased to be working with NEEDS to improve the foot care pathway, ensuring that specialist services are targeted, and people encouraged to self-care and monitor their feet.”

Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We welcome the improvements made to the foot care service which is good news for patients locally.  The early interventions will detect early onset of problems which can be treated much quicker improving patient care and outcomes.”

Top tips for healthy feet:

  • Wash your feet regularly and with warm soapy water
  • Be sure to dry them well – especially between the toes as this is where fungal infections can develop
  • If you suffer from dry skin, apply moisturising cream all over the foot apart from between your toes
  • Gently remove any hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file
  • Cut your toenails carefully using proper nail clippers. Do not cut them too short and make sure to cut them to the shape of the toe – not down the edges as this may cause in-grown toe nails. Gently file the nails to remove any rough edges.

If you develop any problems with your feet or simply want some advice, please call NEEDS on 0845 241 3313 or ACE Podiatry via the Community Gateway on 0300 0032 144.

Click here to view the information for patients leaflet

Click here for frequently answered questions