Research data collected by the Trust’s podiatry team is being used in a national trial – known as the HEELS trial – which aims to improve treatment for people with diabetes who develop heel ulcers. The HEELS trial is being led by the Foot Ulcer Trials Unit in Nottingham and Professor William Jeffcoate, who founded the Foot Ulcer Trials Unit in 2002, came to visit the Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust podiatry team to discuss the research so far.
Professor Jeffcoate is known around the world for his work collating evidence to underpin protocols for the clinical care of foot disease in diabetes and he was welcomed by the podiatry team involved in the research.
Alexandra Harrington, clinical lead podiatrist at the Trust said: “Our involvement started in 2011 and we are entering the final year of data collection. The randomised control trial involves patients with heel ulcers being given /or not given a fibreglass heel cast in addition to the standard care they would normally receive. The aim of the research is to establish whether there is a significant difference in the proportion of patients ulcers which heal at six months.”
The podiatry team has also agreed, with research and development approval from the Trust, to take part in an additional trial -The Humid (Heel Ulcer Microbiome in Diabetes) – which is a very simple add-on study which will look at the spectrum of bacterial DNA within a foot wound from presentation and onward.
Alexandra added: “Being involved in this research has and continues to be excellent opportunity for us to help develop enhanced foot care services and improve the care of people with diabetes in Gloucestershire. It has provided excellent learning and development for many of those involved together with the wider podiatry team.”