The effective control of diabetes and investment in podiatry services for patients would lead to a massive reduction in the development and progression of complications, a significant reduction in the number of amputations and a reduction in the number of people seeking hospital beds, which would result in savings to the State according to Fine Gel Cork South Central Senator, Jerry Buttimer.
“For too long now the management and treatment of diabetes in Cork has been largely ignored leaving patients to endure the unnecessary, and often preventable, escalation of their condition.
“As a result of a lack of adequate funding, people with diabetes are being forced into under-resourced treatment services, prolonging hospital stays and resulting in money being badly spent.
“Of the 1,691 patients from Cork city and county admitted for treatment for foot ulcers between 2005 and 2009, one third had diabetes. A further 202 people with diabetes from county Cork had to have a lower limb amputation in the same period. This is a very high figure when one considers that 5% of the population suffers from diabetes.
“The money being spent in HSE South treating inpatients with diabetes for diabetic foot disease (€75 million between 2005 and 2009) could be lowered considerably if one hospital or community podiatrist was employed to work locally to prevent contraction of the disease by run a foot screening programme.
“Ireland currently has the lowest number of employees in Europe providing podiatry for diabetes. The country has only two hospital podiatry posts and a broken and uncoordinated community service. But it doesn’t have to be like this. A co-ordinated, long-term approach to the plight of diabetes patients could save them substantial pain and heartbreak down the line. Better use of the money we are already spending in this area and a wiser approach to patients’ needs could lead to a reduction in the development of complications, the number of amputations and the number of people seeking hospital beds, with savings to the Exchequer, and a better life for patients, the net result.”