I don’t have to say that the NHS is struggling to look after people with diabetes, but I met one pharmacist who intends to change that. He has made one important observation.
‘Most people with diabetes have never seen the bottom of their feet’
It is an old joke isn’t it.
- Doctor: you must inspect your feet every day
- Patient: I haven’t seen my feet for 10 years
So one pharmacist in South London has bought a special mirror for his neighbouring practice. It is unbreakable and stands on the floor at an angle so the patient can easily see the bottoms of their feet while sitting down on a chair. It is crazy that doctors, pharmacists and nurses in that practice who recommend daily foot inspection can only now help the patient to see their feet and explain what to look out for. I know that the world isn’t perfect and some people with diabetes don’t see too well and some would be unable to part their toes, but it may well represent a revolution in diabetes footcare.
If the patient wants a mirror then they are on sale in the pharmacy next door. When the patient buys one, the pharmacists emphasises ‘inspect-moisturise-prevent’ explaining what to look out for and when to go back to the practice. The pharmacy team also talks the patient through a selection of suitable moisturisers that they could easily apply and would be acceptable. This pharmacy has a referral pathway to a podiatrist and can offer advice about specialist socks and shoes.
All around the country healthcare professionals give important advice – like inspect your feet daily – knowing that their patients have not seen the bottoms of their feet for years. There is actually no point in giving advice knowing that the patient cannot comply.
However in one practice in South London, the Healthcare Professionals offer advice and actually shows the patient what the bottoms of their feet look like and how they can inspect daily. They say ‘inspect-moisturise-protect’ and the community pharmacy delivers the support.
Community Pharmacy – supporting best diabetes care.