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Number of diabetes amputations reaches new high

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Latest figures have revealed that the number of diabetes-related amputations a week in England has now reached an all-time record high of 135, according to new analysis by Diabetes UK.

The figures, calculated using new Public Health England data, show that the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now more than 7,000, compared to the previous figure of 6,677.

“Not enough people are receiving their annual foot check and those who do often tell us their check was not very thorough”

Barbara Young

This equates to seven more amputations each week. Yet, with good diabetes and footcare, up to 80% of these amputations can be avoided, said the charity.

It said the figures showed that despite a big focus on preventing these amputations, the amputation rate for major and minor amputations combined in people with diabetes has stayed the same.

But because of the sharp increase in the number of people with diabetes in the past 20 years, the number of diabetes-related amputations is rising.

Diabetes UK launched its Putting Feet First campaign back in 2012 and is calling on the government and the NHS to do more to tackle the problem of diabetes-related amputation by improving diabetes footcare.

This includes ensuring everyone with diabetes gets good quality annual foot checks and that anyone who has a foot problem gets the right care to prevent or treat it.

It is particularly important that if anyone with diabetes has a foot infection they get urgent attention from a team of specialists, the charity noted.

To highlight the “human tragedy” behind the statistics, on Wednesday Diabetes UK displayed 135 shoes to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations a week.

The shoes were donated by people who have had an amputation, supporters and celebrities and each has a personal message attached to it.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done.

“Not enough people are receiving their annual foot check and those who do often tell us their check was not very thorough,” she said. “This means they don’t understand their risk of amputation, how to look after their feet or the urgency of getting help if their foot deteriorates.

“We need urgent action to address this, and with the shoes on display today we want to send a powerful message about the scale of this issue. The vast majority of these amputations are not inevitable,” she added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The CQC needs to attend GP nurse led diabetic clinics to ensure they are adequate. Many diabetic patients are in denial and you can talk, teach and help till you are blue in the face.

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  • Yes, many people with diabetes are in denial. Regular review ensuring optimum glycaemic control is as important as foot checks.

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