THE estimated in-patient cost of treating preventable diabetic foot disease in Ireland was a staggering €239 million between 2005-2009, the Diabetes Federation of Ireland has claimed.
The federation has launched a campaign, Half the Services – Half the Care, which focuses on podiatry services for people with diabetes.
As a result of undiagnosed and poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes, people are needlessly developing foot complications, often leading to amputations.
When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. Diabetes can cause poor circulation and nerve damage so foot problems commonly develop in people with diabetes and can quickly become serious.
The cost of failing to put in place an effective plan of preventative care is enormous and is only a fraction of the funding needed to employ enough podiatrists to cover the entire country.
In Irish hospitals between 2005-2009 there were:
* 7,565 hospital admissions of patients with diabetes costing €239 million.
* 17,207 admissions for foot ulcers; 5,986 patients had diabetes (35%).
* 3,435 admissions for foot ulcers (under 65); 1,791 patients had diabetes (52%).
* 3,237 lower limb amputations; 1,579 patients had diabetes (49%).
* 1,225 lower-limb amputations (in people aged under 65 years); 592 patients had diabetes (48%).
It would cost €1.56 million each year to employ 20 podiatrists to provide a national foot screening programme.
The campaign wants funding for services to identify people with an at-risk foot disease and to provide screening as part of an annual check-up. It seeks:
* A national foot screening programme so that all people with diabetes are offered an annual foot check-up to provide preventative care.
* The phased introduction of 20 podiatrist posts to work with people who have diabetes nationwide.
* The elimination of diabetes-related amputations and other preventable complications of diabetic foot disease.
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