• 23/09/2020
  • Press Release

Huddersfield, UK, [23.09.20] - Flexitol® (Thornton & Ross) and Diabetes UK have today announced a new partnership that aims to help people with diabetes look after their foot health and prevent the development of serious foot problems, amid a rising number of diabetes-related lower-limb amputations in England.1

The partnership will see the release of new educational and training resources as part of the Simple Steps diabetes foot care campaign. Initially launched in November 2018, Simple Steps provides free support and materials to help people with diabetes to maintain healthy feet and prevent conditions such as broken skin or a callus from developing into more serious problems, such as infection and ulcers, which can lead to lower-limb amputations. These amputations are currently at an all-time high of 25 per day in England.2 Serious foot problems can be devastating to a person’s quality of life and can often life-threatening. Foot ulcers and amputations are also hugely costly for the NHS, with at least £1 in every £140 of NHS spending going towards foot care for people with diabetes.1 The new initiatives will provide healthcare professionals with more ways to support people with diabetes maintain healthy feet between their regular check-ups. Resources can be downloaded and printed from the Simple Steps websiteincluding a daily foot care routine, advice on identifying foot conditions and information on when to visit a healthcare professional.

Simple Steps diabetes foot care training will also be rolled out via Diabetes UK support groups, where people with diabetes meet virtually once a month. Further information for healthcare professionals to provide to their patients about these groups can be found at Diabetes UK.

Nathan Mooney, Flexitol® Senior Brand Manager at Thornton & Ross, commented: “We are excited to be expanding our Simple Steps campaign with Diabetes UK so that we can better help care for diabetic foot health. Regularly checking feet and having a simple, daily foot care routine to follow is very important for people with diabetes to help reduce the risk of developing serious foot problems. As Diabetes UK’s only partner focussed wholly on foot care, we are pleased to be promoting this message to a wider audience in 2020 and beyond.”

Dan Howarth, Head of Care, Diabetes UK, adds: “An amputation, regardless of whether it’s defined as minor or major, is devastating and life-changing. A ‘minor’ amputation can still involve losing a whole foot. But many diabetes amputations are avoidable through better quality care, which is why we are pleased to partner with Flexitol® and offer our members more support materials and resources to help the maintenance of good foot health for people with diabetes.”


About the Flexitol® range

Flexitol® is the UK’s number one prescribed urea brand,3 offering a urea-based emollient range for diabetes foot care management, including a 10% urea cream and a 25% urea heel balm to protect and treat diabetic feet, which are both approved by the College of Podiatry.

For further information visit www.flexitol.co.uk (consumers)

For further information visit www.flexitol.co.uk/professional (Health Care professionals only)

About Thornton & Ross (manufacturer of Flexitol)

Established in 1922, Thornton & Ross are one of the UK’s fastest-growing, leading producers of household pharmaceutical products, and own some of the country’s most loved brands such as Covonia®, Hedrin®, Cetraben® as well as the leading disinfectant Zoflora®.


Based in the Colne Valley near Huddersfield and close to the dramatic Pennine moors, Thornton & Ross are also a trusted and reliable provider of prescription products, including emollients where they are the leading prescription emollient company in the UK; bone health products as well as  generics to the NHS with almost 100 years’ heritage behind us.

Thornton & Ross is part of the STADA group.


About Diabetes UK

  1. Diabetes UK’s aim is creating a world where diabetes can do no harm. Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time, affecting more people than any other serious health condition in the UK - more than dementia and cancer combined. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes. With the right treatment, knowledge and support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life. For more information about diabetes and the charity’s work, visit diabetes.org.uk  


  1. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. 


  1. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 8 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It’s the most common type of diabetes in children and young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.


  1. People with type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required. 


  1. About 2 per cent of people have other types of diabetes. Other types include 11 different forms of monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes and diabetes caused by rare syndromes. Certain medication such as steroids and antipsychotics, surgery or hormonal imbalances could also lead to other types of diabetes.  

For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF, 3MB).



  1. Why we’re urging NHS England to invest in diabetes foot care https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/diabetes-foot-care Last accessed September 2020
  2. Diabetes: More than 9,000 amputations a year in England caused by the disease https://news.sky.com/story/diabetes-more-than-9-000-amputations-a-year-in-england-caused-by-the-disease-11944156 Last accessed September 2020
  3. HSCIC Volume Data. GP Practice Prescribing Presentation-level Data. Volume of Sales May 2020.