Putting feet first to reduce amputations in Portsmouth

CHECKS Diabetic Jean Penter, of Drayton, has her feet looked at by podiatrist Gareth Klepacz, at a session organised by Diabetes UK at The Holiday Inn.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (121357-1839)
CHECKS Diabetic Jean Penter, of Drayton, has her feet looked at by podiatrist Gareth Klepacz, at a session organised by Diabetes UK at The Holiday Inn. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121357-1839)
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RECOGNISING early signs of foot problems can potentially save diabetic patients from amputations.

So yesterday Diabetes UK came to Portsmouth to spread that message as part of the charity’s national campaign called Putting Feet First.

In all, 60 people went to the information session held at the Holiday Inn, Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth.

It comes after figures revealed the number of major amputations in people with diabetes in Portsmouth is nearly twice the average for England.

Figures show there are 1.94 amputations a year per 1,000 diabetic people – compared with the national average of 0.99 a year.

Patient Jean Penter, 79, of Mansvid Avenue, Cosham, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 33 years ago.

Since 2003 she has had to have five insulin injections a day to control her condition.

The retired clerk said: ‘Anything that gives me more information about diabetes and how to look after myself, then I’m interested in finding out. My father, grandfather, aunt and uncle all had diabetes late in their lives.

‘But a lot has changed with information from when they were diagnosed.

‘This seminar taught me the importance of foot care.

‘I also got the chance to ask questions to experts.’

Diabetes UK worked with Solent NHS Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust to arrange the session.

Diabetes can cause poor circulation, which means often people do not realise there is an ulcer or cut on their foot.

Over time this becomes infected and cannot be treated, which can lead to the amputation of a toe or foot.

Diabetes UK hopes better education in foot care will reduce this.

Jill Steaton, south east regional manager of Diabetes UK, said: ‘Portsmouth PCT has the second-highest rate of amputations in the country and that’s not good enough for patients. That’s why we put on this event.

‘It was for diabetic patients who have not seen a podiatrist, so they can learn how to look after their feet.’

For more information visit diabetes.org.uk/putting-feet-first.