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Podiatry service saves lives, and limbs

News Release


Podiatry service saves lives, and limbs

A ground breaking service started by Midlands Health Network is improving the lives of hundreds of people with diabetes and helping reduce the number of amputations.

The service, which started in December 2012, enables those with the risk of foot disease to be treated for free by specially accredited podiatrists. To date nearly 2,000 people have been treated through the service, which is delivered in partnership with PodiatryNZ.

The aim of the service is the early detection and treatment of foot problems that can lead to lower limb amputations, as well as providing education for people on how to better look after their feet and prevent problems in the future.

Treating more people, at an earlier stage, in the community, reduces demand on secondary services and allows them to focus on more complex needs.

The service also helps increase the knowledge and skills of primary care clinicians to undertake foot screening and foot health promotion for people with diabetes.

Midlands Health Network Chief Executive, John Macaskill-Smith says the initial results coming from the service are extremely positive.

“Early intervention from Podiatrists can make a major difference to the lives of people living with diabetes, enabling them to remain active and independent.

“Initial results from the services show a 15% drop in amputations, some of the best results from any area in the country.

“What’s behind those figures is the hundreds of people who have had their quality of life, mobility and overall health improved by getting quicker and more convenient access to these services.

“As a network, we’re working hard to equip the primary sector with what they need to fully support people with long term conditions.

“Working with organisations such as PodiatryNZ, redesigning services, and shifting to a more patient centred model, which offers better support in a wider range of settings and helps people manage their conditions better.”

PodiatryNZ chief executive, Jennifer Pelvin underlined the significant role community podiatry plays in keeping people mobile and out of hospital.

“Midlands Health Network understands the importance of having a funded program for people with foot problems enables people to access care in the community they live in rather than having to travel away for treatment.”

Andrew Jones, podiatrist at Waikato Podiatry, is one of eight members of PodiatryNZ to which Pinnacle Practices can refer patients.

“Chronic patients require multiple appointments with different specialists and it’s difficult to juggle this with other personal commitments,” he says.

“It usually requires a day off work if they cannot access a local service. By providing clinics in Tokoroa, Raglan, Thames or Whangamata as well as multiple sites in Hamilton, the service is providing greater flexibility and convenience for patients.”

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