Primary care staff are key to ensuring that patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes have their feet checked for ulcers and other complications, after a report found that a large number of patients do not receive them.
Diabetes Scotland's State of the nation 2015: The age of diabetes, found that 36.4%, or 10,484 people with type 1 diabetes and 19.6%, or 47,834 people with type 2 diabetes in Scotland are not recorded as having received a foot risk score after they have been assessed. The report states that primary care is a 'key touch point' for people with diabetes to receive their foot check.
The best performing health board for providing foot checks for patients with type 1 diabetes was NHS Western Isles, where 78.3% of patients were given a foot check compared with 60.1% in NHS Grampian, which was the worst performing. For type 2 patients, the best and worst performing Health Boards were NHS Tayside and NHS Lanarkshire, with 85.9% and 76.4% respectively.
Jane Claire-Judson, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said: 'We must focus on improving diabetes care for all, reducing avoidable complications, and supporting people to live well with the condition which should include offering a range of appropriate education opportunities. If action is not taken now, the longer-term costs will be severe to people living with the condition, NHS Scotland and wider society.'
The report urges more effective foot checks for people with diabetes, as people who have foot ulcers and amputations have an 80% increased risk of death within five years. The report calls for all people with diabetes to receive a high-quality foot check each year, as well as recommending that health boards need to ensure integrated foot care is being provided across primary, community and specialist care services. This includes having a multi-disciplinary foot care team and a foot protection service in every area, as the report found that only 17 out of Scotland's 21 health boards had one.
Ms Judson added: 'We have the knowledge and skill to enable us to do better and deliver the essential care which every person living with diabetes requires. In certain areas we have already made improvements in provision of care but we must use the collective expertise of Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and people within the diabetes community to help determine a positive future for all people in Scotland affected by the condition.'