Diabetic foot care boost for pioneering medical centre
A LLANELLI medical centre that aims to prevent complications as a result of diabetes has been handed a £10,000 boost from the Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable Trust.
The money from the trust, set up in memory of Ray, who had his leg amputated because of one such complication, has been handed to the Meurig Williams Community Diabetes Centre at Prince Philip Hospital, following a nomination by Parker Plant Hire Ltd.
It will enable the centre to purchase four diagnostic machines which allow clinicians to assess circulation and ankle and toe blood pressures.
The machines are portable and can be used for assessments at local hospitals, health centres or even in a patient’s home.
Joanne Morris, principal podiatrist for diabetes and vascular disease at Hywel Dda University Health Board, who has specialised in diabetic foot disease for more than 20 years said: “I met Ray Gravell the week after his amputation on the ward in Glangwili Hospital, at the time I was one of only four diabetic foot specialist podiatrist across Hywel Dda.
“This specialism was also in its infancy across Wales. This meeting with Ray was so memorable to me as a clinician. Why, I asked myself, should such a fit, athletic man be struck down with diabetic foot problems which had lead him to our meeting that day in August in Glangwili. Meeting Ray and his subsequent visits to me had a profound effect on me.
“His upbeat personality, his honest, humble manner considering his celebrity status, and his keen desire to help me in the future to help others to understand the need ‘to look after your diabetes and your feet’ so that others would not suffer the same journey as himself.
“Ray had offered to do some education talks to newly diagnosed diabetics on foot care, and I looked forward to working with him on those. The tragic loss of such a personality who could have made such an impact on individuals for their care was huge.
“In the past 10 years, things have changed; I now lead a team of 12 diabetic and vascular podiatrists who specialise in diabetic and peripheral vascular disease of the foot and the role is growing in its responsibility across all our hospital sites.
“We now run vascular assessment clinics for the Llanelli area, in the new Meurig Williams Centre. Our aim is to identify and support people with peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation) and improving their health and well-being as well as reducing preventable heart attacks, strokes and leg amputations.
“The machines that we have purchased from the generous donation received from the Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable Trust allows us to provide enhanced assessments to our patients. “The machines perform toe brachial pressures, which are proven to be more accurate than ankle brachial pressures for the diabetic population which will benefit our patients.”
George Parker said: “We are delighted to have nominated The Meurig Williams Diabetic Centre, we as a company felt it was a fitting tribute to Ray Gravell and I also had a good friend Clive Darkin who sadly lost his life to diabetes.”
Dr Robin Ghosal, hospital director, added: “Prince Philip Hospital is indeed very grateful to receive such a kind donation from Parker Plant Hire and Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable trust.
“This money has already been put to good use for our diabetic patients here in Llanelli with the purchase of state of the art podiatry equipment that can help identify potential foot problems earlier which enables us to start treating patients quicker.”
Ray Gravell lost the lower half of his leg to diabetes in 2007. Now a fund in his name is helping diabetic patients in Llanelli.