New campaign to tackle one of the UK’s biggest health challenges launched

Coalition of healthcare organisations launch national campaign to raise awareness of lower leg and foot conditions

A national campaign to raise awareness of a significant but largely hidden health challenge was launched in Newcastle today. The Legs Matter campaign is designed to get the nation thinking and talking about, and taking action on leg and foot conditions, including non-healing wounds, varicose veins and oedema.

It comes as research shows that the annual cost to the NHS of managing non-healing wounds is estimated to be up to £5.3 billion[i].

It comes as research shows that the annual cost to the NHS of managing non-healing wounds is estimated to be up to £5.3 billion[i]. Leg and foot conditions have also been shown to lead to loneliness and depression if people do not get the correct care[ii]. Despite this, conditions of the leg and foot do not currently receive the care or attention they urgently need. This campaign – which features real people living with leg and foot conditions – sets out to change that.

The campaign is led by a coalition of eight healthcare organisations including The Tissue Viability Society, The British Lymphology Society, Accelerate CIC, The College of Podiatry, The Society of Vascular Nurses, The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation, Foot in Diabetes UK and The Leg Ulcer Forum. The organisations have come together to make sure that anyone with a lower leg or foot problem understands their condition and gets the urgent care, attention and support they need.

Dr Una Adderley, Lecturer in Community Nursing at the University of Leeds and Tissue Viability Society Trustee, says:

“We want the Legs Matter campaign to raise awareness of leg and foot problems and help people get the care and support they need. Our aim is to help doctors and nurses understand what these patients need and at the same time raise this issue as a commissioning priority for those who organise healthcare services.”

The campaign is asking the public to stand up for their own leg and foot health by paying attention to their legs and feet, going to their pharmacist or GP if things aren’t looking right and demanding better or different care if your leg or foot isn’t getting better

The campaign is also calling on healthcare professionals to recognise the signs and symptoms of lower leg and foot problems, talk to their patients about their lower leg and foot health and lobby for better services for patients.

The Legs Matter coalition will also be working with NHS decision-makers to increase awareness of how much inadequate leg and foot care costs the system, and to focus on shaping a system that makes legs and feet a higher priority.

Kick off time - Legs Matter graphic

NHS England, who has been leading work to improve wound care for patients cross the NHS through the Leading Change Adding Value Framework for nurses and midwives, says:

“We fully recognise the work of the Legs Matter campaign to engage patients and carers in their care in order to reduce and manage wounds of the lower leg. We believe that this will lead to improvements in patient care for this group of people”

Sally Napper
Director of Nursing NHS England – Lancashire & South Cumbria
LCAV Improving Wound Care Project – Project Director

Sources

[i] National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) study conducted by Professor Julian Guest

[ii] Briggs, M. & Flemming, K. 2007. Living with leg ulceration: a synthesis of qualitative research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 319-328.

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