BACKGROUND: Foot ulceration which may result in lower limb amputation is one of the most feared complications among patients with diabetes and the prevention of both ulceration and amputation is a major challenge facing the health service. Many studies have proposed dedicated diabetic foot teams as the future of diabetic foot care.
AIMS: We aimed to quantify the cost benefit and sustainability of a multi-disciplinary foot protection clinic (MDFPC) in an Irish university hospital setting.
METHODS: A dedicated bi-weekly consultant-led MDFPC including Vascular Surgery, Endocrinology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Podiatry, Orthotics and Tissue Viability was established in June 2008.
RESULTS: Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 221 lower limb procedures (major/minor amputations and debridement) were performed. The number of major amputations decreased from 12 during the control period (2 years before the clinic) to 7 in the study period (2 years after the clinic). After costing all activity associated with the clinic, there was an overall saving of 114,063 per year associated with the introduction of the MDFPC.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study in an Irish context, and one of few international studies, to demonstrate that an aggressive-coordinated approach to diabetic foot care is both cost effective and clinically efficient in reducing the burden of foot-related complications in a diabetic population.