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Urgent Need for Additional Podiatry Services for Diabetic Patients

The HSE recently launched a Model of Care for the Diabetic Foot and highlighted its intention to
increase the number of podiatrists via the planned HSE Chronic Disease Management
Community Hubs. However, there seems to be a significant delay in the recruitment process.
A person with diabetes is 22 times more likely to undergo a non-traumatic lower limb
amputation than an individual without diabetes. In 2020 people with diabetes accounted for
69% of people requiring lower limb amputation across the country.

In Tipperary, between 2016 and 2020, a total of 113 diabetic patients underwent lower limb
amputation. During that same period a total of 363 cases of diabetic related foot ulcers were
diagnosed with the patients requiring hospitalisation.

‘An increase in the number of Acute and Community based podiatrists could help diabetic
patients and reduce the need for hospitalisation’ says Deputy Lowry.

Diabetes Ireland states that ‘the average length of stay for each in-patient is 14 days with
previous research showing the cost of each hospital stay being a minimum of €30,000. The
salary cost of a podiatrist is around €50,000 per annum. If the podiatrist treats and prevents
just 2 patients from requiring in-patient hospital treatment, significant savings will be made in
terms of cost and quality of life for the patient. The broader impact is that we can prevent
hospitalisation for thousands of people with diabetes each year as the foot complications of
diabetes and the associated risk of amputation are preventable with regular foot examination,
regular podiatry screening in community settings and intervention and specialised diabetes
multidisciplinary foot clinics within hospitals to deal with difficult cases’