Posted on: 7 February 2024

Camden Podiatry service has been able to improve the detection, diagnosis and management of peripheral arterial disease.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a narrowing, hardening or blockage of the main blood vessels in the legs, and it effects around 20 per cent of the UK population over the age of 60.

PAD can be under-diagnosed in many people, and it's associated with cardiovascular risks such as heart attacks, strokes, amputation or arrythmia.

Many patients are often referred unnecessarily to vascular specialists by their GP, which reduces hospital capacity to see people with urgent limb threatening diseases.

With these factors in mind, the team set out to improve the patient pathway in Camden.

Jessica Bailey, a Podiatrist from the service said:

“The aim is to identify and provide early diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease in people who present to the podiatry service. We also want to reduce the risks of people suffering from cardiovascular events.”

The improvement work included:

  • A weekly clinic session to provide assessments
  • A new referral pathway, which was approved by a Vascular Consultant at University College London
  • Upskilling clinicians in vascular assessments to use in daily patient care
  • Working more closely with vascular teams and GPs
  • Providing education materials to patients for diagnosis of PAD as well as cardiovascular risks, including healthy lifestyle changes (smoking and exercise)

This new approach has led to:

  • A reduction in unnecessary outpatient referrals
  • An increase in staff motivation and confidence
  • Improved patient experience and more personalised care because care is given quicker and closer to home

camden podiatry pic.jpg

In numbers:

  • 24 percent of referrals have had a new PAD diagnosis
  • 30 percent of patients with a new PAD diagnosis have had their medication optimised with a GP
  • Only 6 percent of patients have been referred to secondary care
  • 15 percent of patients referred for an ECG (electrocardiogram) have confirmed arrythmia

The team received a CNWL Improvement Academy Award for this project.

You can read more in this poster (opens PDF)