A vascular nurse consultant and consultant diabetologist will explore the value of podiatrists within multidisciplinary teams at this year’s EDFN conference on April 29.
Dr Leanne Atkin, from the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Professor Mike Edmonds, from King’s College Hospital in London, will examine whether multidisciplinary teams can survive without podiatrists, in a discussion entitled ‘The role of podiatry: Essential or dispensable? From the eyes of a Consultant Diabetologist and a Vascular Nurse Consultant.’
With amputations increasing while the number of podiatrists declines, the perfect storm is brewing. The discussion will be chaired by Derek Thomas MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes, and it is hoped it will spark a recruitment drive within the sector before multidisciplinary teams become overwhelmed with cases of diabetes.
A drop in routine podiatry appointments over the last two years has led to concerns that it will lead to a record level of lower limb amputations and foot ulceration.
Estimates show that by 2025, 1.2 million people with diabetes in the UK will – if they are to remain ulcer and amputation free – require regular podiatry appointments. There are currently just under 10,000 registered podiatrists in England but this number is to decline due to age demographics. The situation is exacerbated by declining numbers undertaking the undergraduate degree programme, from 420 in 2009 down to just 126 podiatry graduates in England in 2021.
This at a time when rates of diabetes are over 3.5m in England and latest figures show there are over 9,800 toe, foot or leg amputations each year – approximately 190 per week. Eighty per cent of these amputations are preventable.
The online EDFN conference, which is free to attend and is open to anyone interested in lower limb care, will feature keynote speakers, case studies, panel discussions, and presentations across the whole spectrum of diabetic foot healthcare.
The EDFN National Conference is sponsored by Dermatonics. The company has not had any input into the content of the conference, but will be delivering a short delegate address.