A Henfield man is campaigning for a 24-hour specialist diabetes footcare service to be available at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
Peter Bates, of Woodmancote, who is chairman of the Friends of Henfield Medical Practice, has warned that the full service is vital to prevent amputations in people with diabetes.
Peter, who has Type 2 diabetes, has emphasised that people with diabetes are more than 20 times more likely to have a lower limb amputation than the rest of the population - but up to 80 per cent of these amputations can be prevented.
“One way of lowering these statistics is to have a multi-disciplinary footcare team accessible within 24 hours - but this is not the case at the Princess Royal Hospital. The facility would mean that foot problems in diabetic people do not deteriorate so badly before being seen that an amputation is needed. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends all hospitals have them,” he said.
He is extremely concerned that the Princess Royal does not have this facility, which literally means the difference between keeping a foot and losing it.
“This is why I am calling for the Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust to introduce the facility in Haywards Heath as a matter of urgency. I would suggest other diabetics in this area do the same,” he added.
Peter’s mother died in a diabetic coma and he urges people who might be at risk of diabetes to have a blood test with their GP.
“We just don’t know how many people are walking around with diabetes without realising,” he added.
He has received a response from Chris Adcock, chief executive of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, saying that that trust recognises that the current multi-disciplinary team approach to working, which is in place at both the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital, can be improved.
“Plans are being developed to expand the multi-disciplinary foot care team in accordance with the NICE guidline and the Putting Feet First Campaign.
“We are committed to providing clinically safe and effective services for patients,” the letter said.
But Jill Steaton of Diabetes UK said that the current service offered by the Trust fell far short of what was required and she is due to have a meeting with the Trust to discuss the situation.
“Diabetics at high risk must have emergency access to a multi-disciplinary footcare team within 24 hours and this facility is not currently available at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
“This need is highlighted by the national campaign, Putting Feet First.
“Its ambition is to reduce limo amputations for diabetics by 50 per cent within the next five years,” she said.
Currently there are 6,000 amputations a year and it is believed that 80 per cent of these are potentially preventable with the right care.
In West Sussex, from April 2008-2011, there were 308 amputations per 1,000 diabetic patients - 3.0 per cent - while the national average is 2.7 per cent.
“It is simply not good enough and I will be discussing this with the Brighton and Sussex University Trust,” said Jill.
The national campaign, Putting Feet First, warns that diabetes-related complications result in the amputation of a lower limb every 30 seconds worldwide. It wants to end this.