Leeds, United Kingdom (PressExposure) September 03, 2014 -- A simple liquid gel shoe insert that could save the NHS over £200 million a year by preventing diabetes related foot ulcers, has been made available on prescription for the first time.
At any one time 60,000 people suffer from diabetic related foot ulcers in the UK, each costing an average of £5,500 to treat.
An average of 300 new foot ulcers are diagnosed every day and 120 people undergo an amputation each week - 80 per cent of which are preceded by a foot ulcer - only 50 per cent of people with diabetes who have had an amputation survive for more than two years.
It's the first time a preventative orthotic product of this kind has been made available on NHS prescription and will substantially reduce the £700 million and more currently spent on diabetic foot ulceration and amputation.
The Liqua-care diabetic insole prevents foot ulcers by evenly distributing a patient's weight, reducing peak pressure and promoting better circulation and it will also significantly reduce the 120 diabetes related amputations that take place every week in the UK.
NHS approval of Liqua-care orthotics follows "quite exceptional" results from a clinical trial carried out with patients at-risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer. At one third of one per cent of the average cost to treat an ulcer Liqua-care could save the health service at least £200 million a year.
There are currently over four million people with diabetes in the UK and 10 per cent of those will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime.
The key clinical trial results
In the clinical trial, led by Duncan Stang, National Diabetes Foot Coordinator for Scotland, results showed that:
- Patients had a 21.5 per cent reduction in forefoot pressure
- Circulation in the foot had improved by a "clinically significant" five per cent after only two weeks' use
A two year post-trial check revealed that none of the group had a reported instance of ulceration.
The unique simple, liquid gel inserts that slide into patients' own shoes have been proven to increase circulation and reduce peak forefoot pressures which, combined with the effects of diabetic neuropathy - a loss of sensation - lead to the majority of diabetic foot wounds.
The anatomically designed liquid gel inserts work by enabling a more efficient distribution of body weight, while increasing the "venous return" and blood circulation to the foot.
Duncan Stang, National Diabetes Foot Coordinator for Scotland who headed the clinical team said: "The results that Liqua Care generated in the clinical trials were quite exceptional. To demonstrate a 21.5 per cent reduction in forefoot pressures and a clinically significant increase in transcutaneous oxygen pressure in this group of patients was very exciting.
"For the sample group, of which nearly half had previously ulcerated therefore carrying a 50 per cent likelihood of re-ulceration within 12 months, these results were extremely important. To then realise that none of the group had a reported instance of ulceration two years later is nothing short of remarkable.
"We now have approval from the NHS for Liqua-care to be accessed via prescription for "at risk" patients with diabetes - this is a massive step forward in diabetes foot care.
"To have this clinically proven treatment which can prevent ulcers arising rather than just treating them when they have developed is what the NHS, clinicians and patients alike have been waiting to arrive for a great many years."
David Watt, managing director of Liqua-care added: "We have taken a great deal of time and care to prove the effectiveness of Liqua-care insoles in order for them to be made available on prescription for people with diabetes.
"A single foot ulcer costs the NHS approximately £5,500 to treat and the cost of one pair of insoles is one third of one per cent of that cost. Diabetes related foot ulcers have a high human cost too and with only 50 per cent of sufferers who have had an amputation surviving for more than two years post-surgery, we need to do all we can to reduce the main cause of those amputations."
Liqua-care Diabetic FlowGel Orthotics cost the NHS £17 a pair. They can be requested with your GP, district nurse or paediatrician or are available to purchase at http://www.autonomed.co.uk / http://www.liqua-care.co.uk.
Autono-Med Ltd is committed to improving the lifestyle of those many people for whom "normal living" is a challenge by developing innovative solutions to everyday problems.