Campaign to raise awareness of conditions that lead to amputation
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 June 2019
The first ever week-long push to improve awareness about the debilitating effects of long-term wounds is kicking off this June.
Legs Matter Awareness Week, beginning today (Monday), wants to draw awareness to the fact that someone loses their leg every two hours in England due to a non-healing would.
In Tower Hamlets, its thought 382 people had diabetic foot ulcers, costing the NHS £5.5 million to treat in 2016/17.
In total, 80 of those had to have their legs amputated.
Stepney native Pamela Florence, 51, has sickle cell disease. The disease can make patients more likely to get leg ulcers.
In her case. what looked like a paper cut when she was 35 eventually turned into a 20cm wound.
"Leg ulcers don't just happen to elderly people," she said. "They can happen to anyone. It's the sort of pain where all you can do is cry because there's nothing you can do about it.
"It breaks my heart that I missed out on doing things with my children when they were younger.
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"My brother would take my kids roller skating in Regent's Park and I could never join them. They're older now but I'll never get those years back."
She's now getting treatment at Mile End Hospital from the Accelerate Community Interest Company.
An NHS study estimates that getting care for these injuries early reduces the amount of time it takes for ulcers to heal from two years to a few months.
It is also 10 times cheaper for the NHS to treat people this way.
Chief executive of Accelerate CIC, Alison Hopkins, is calling on people to check on their and their loved ones' legs and feet for possible problems.
These include swollen, tender legs or sores that won't heal. The organisation also wants people to talk more and raise awareness about these conditions.
"There are more than a million people suffering with lower leg and feet disorders - many of which are life changing," said Ms Hopkins.
"These conditions are often overlooked by patients, carers and clinicians. We are passionate about changing this."
To help this effort, the organisation is running a series of events. One is at the Ideas Store in Bow on Tuesday, June 4 to help people get more information.
Details about the campaign can be found at legsmatter.org.