Walsall Healthcare’s Podiatry team are hoping to get off on the right foot today as they launch their very first ‘one-stop shop’ foot care clinic for diabetes patients.
In the past, diabetics have visited the podiatry clinic to receive treatment for a specific health concern – such as a damaged toenail or foot abnormality – but from today, all patients who are referred by their GP/diabetes nurse into the clinic will undergo a full check-up that works to treat and prevent all foot-related issues.
Podiatrist Alex Hadley explained: “Being able to asses patients before a problem occurs means we can make the treatment preventative rather than reactive, as often the damage is already done.
“What has normally happened is that the patient gets targeted treatment for their concern and if any other issues crop up, we ask them to come back for another appointment at a later date; this is due to a limited amount of time we can spend with that one patient. Unfortunately it has meant patients often having to wait a number of weeks for that additional support.”
For example, if a patient was treated for a foot infection but was identified as needing special shoe insoles, this could in some cases mean waiting a number of weeks before having the measurements taken, however patients will now be assessed for everything in one, long appointment; reducing the number of appointments and the waiting time for treatment.
Based at Sai Medical Centre, just across from Walsall Manor Hospital, the team will be able to offer in-depth assessments and additional guidance around precautions and the warning signs.
Annette Haywood, also a Podiatrist, added: “It will be an opportunity for us to increase awareness and education around foot care; the longer time we have with a patient, the more time we can spend advising on things like appropriate footwear and how to prevent sores escalating into ulcers/abscesses.
“It means we can make a proper treatment plan and signpost them onto other support services, for example smoking and weight loss.”
The team’s aim will be to see 25 new patients each week with the hope that in the future, patients who are already known to Walsall Healthcare will be able to use it for their annual foot screening.
Podiatrist Vicky Manning detailed: “The clinic is in a central location for all of our patients and they will still be able to receive treatment in their local GP’s afterwards.
“This new clinic will mean we get to treat the patients holistically, as a whole, rather than just tackling problems as they arise. We hope it will play a big part in reducing the amount of diabetic amputations in Walsall and will make people think carefully about their feet.”