Summer 2019 “Legs Matter” – Bringing our Campaign to Parliament

Welcome to the TVS blog written by Dr Jemell Geraghty, Nurse Consultant Tissue Viability, Turning Point  

The Legs Matter Awareness Week 3-7 June 2019 was a huge success; many thanks to everyone who contributed with the preparation, before, during the week and after. A special thanks to our coalition of healthcare organisations and charities and our corporate partners for making this possible and, of course, to you, our readers, for making the Awareness Week a force to be reckoned with!

Some of the press coverage from the Legs Matter Awareness Week

Incredible Media Coverage

Many of us have waited years, if not our entire careers, to witness a campaign of this scale. All throughout the UK and beyond, including the Republic of Ireland, representation at EWMA in Gothenburg, people from all corners of industry, health care and the public got together to participate in one of the most active campaigns those of us in lower limb care have ever seen. Regional coverage was widespread and went as far afield as Jersey, Guernsey and Northern Ireland, as well as making an appearance in Health Europa – a European-wide online health publication.

In summary, during the week 3-7 June, 2019 the media campaign reached an online readership of 31.1 million people, with 159,000 estimated views of the coverage for the lifetime of the articles.

The four articles in Nursing Times alone have been read by a total 21,700 health care professionals. Click here to read more of the highlights of the week on the Legs Matter website.

Relevant articles have so far been shared 882 times on Twitter and Facebook and these numbers continue to rise. An amazing 20 editorial articles were published, including a patient blog maintained during the week with the liaison of the Nursing Times. A further 30 online pieces of coverage were featured on health and generic websites.

Articles were also printed in the Senior Living Section of Daily Mail newspaper – perfect to meet our target audience – reaching a potential 1.2 million daily hard copy readers.

After setting up an interview with Tracy Goodwin, iNews published an extensive article. The site has 6.84 million monthly views with the majority of readers being 35+ year old.

The Politics

We cannot underestimate the power and political push of this nationwide campaign. I am not a politician but the atmosphere, the sheer determination and passion of those of us involved in raising awareness of lower limb and foot conditions would give Boris a run for his money!

On Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, I was honoured to receive a personal invitation to attend the parliamentary debate on “Lower Limb Wound Care” brought forward by Rt Hon Ann Clwyd, MP for the Welsh constituency of Cynon Valley. Ann, as she insists to be informally referred as, has brought to the House and to a greater political audience her own personal experience of living with a leg ulcer, echoing the silent voice of the common people suffering with a chronic wound.

Describing it as “the most painful thing I have ever come across,” the Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP arrived at Parliament straight from her hospital bed to speak on the subject of lower limb wound care.

“…wound care is a massive challenge to the NHS, but it currently lacks priority, investment and direction. I want to push the Government, if they need pushing, on the need for urgent action and the development of a strategy across care providers to improve the standard of wound care”.

Ann demanded for the Government to ensure the opportunity for all patients to have access to high-quality lower limb wound care by supporting the work of the national wound care strategy programme for England on improving the quality of wound care in the country.

The parliamentary debate went on to raise awareness on a topic I am particularly passionate about: lower limb and foot conditions in the homeless populations. It is a massively under resourced and hidden part of wound care and one where patients often sit on the margins of society, making them hard to reach and treat.

A big part of this work is “prevention” of venous ulcers for people with a history of injecting in the lower limbs. I have the privilege to run a new wound care clinic for the homeless that is underway just off Warren Street in central London. An exciting nurse-led initiative to review in a timely manner all patients who are rough sleeping, in hostels, squatting or sofa surfing or of no fixed abode.

The Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP described the homeless wound project as “an excellent development called the Camden Health Improvement Practice pilot wound clinic. I think everybody would applaud this as a very necessary and useful thing to do, and we look forward to hearing more about it….I hope the Minister will respond on this issue, because when I think of the pain inflicted on people—luckily, my pain is managed, but the pain of the homeless, for example, who are sleeping rough on the streets, is not generally being managed—it is clear that this Camden project is a very welcome development”

Click here to see the full debate: Lower Limb Wound Care

And finally…

This is only the beginning please continue to keep up to date with all the latest news from Legs Matter at our website. There is lots more to come in 2020! If you have any feedback or ideas we welcome all comments through our website or email support@legsmatter.org.

Dr Jemell Geraghty, Nurse Consultant Tissue Viability, Turning Point

Twitter: @woundnurseUK

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