A team who help diabetic patients with foot problems have called on people not to ignore the warning signs in the face of COVID-19.
The diabetic foot service is calling on anyone who has symptoms to go along to see their GP. And get a referral to the community podiatry team if appropriate.
Like many services, the community team has seen a reduction in referrals over the last few weeks. From its main bases at Lawson Street Health Centre in Stockton and One Life in Hartlepool.
As the team mark Diabetes Prevention Week, the message is clear. If you need professional advice then it is safe to do so.
Claire O’Malley, highly specialised podiatrist, said: “The community podiatry team – who treat people in health centres in Stockton and Hartlepool. Have seen a reduction in referrals.
“Our message is that if you have pain in your foot and need advice, then we need you do so.
“Similarly, if there are patients who have attended hospital for more serious foot problems and have then been referred back to the community service. It’s important you attend these appointments.
“If ignored, patients who have improved could end up with more serious issues which require them coming back into hospital.”
Patients with diabetes have poorer blood circulation which makes them more likely to develop foot issues.
Melanie Cooley, highly specialised podiatrist, added: “For a patient with diabetes, a blister can quickly turn into a badly infected foot ulcer if it is ignored.
“Prevention is always better than the cure.
“We understand people may be concerned about attending appointments but it is very safe to do so and measures are in place to ensure this.
“And please don’t ever think that you will be wasting our time. We would much rather see you and there to be no issue than for you to leave it and for it to worsen.”
Caption: Left to right – Sarah Johnson-Lynn (consultant orthopaedic surgeon). Claire O’Malley (highly specialised podiatrist). Abby Paterson (orthotist), Denise Hardie (podiatry assistant) and Melanie Cooley (highly specialised podiatrist).