Lower limb amputations up by almost 20% says Diabetes UK
Analysis by Diabetes UK has shown there were 26,378 lower limb amputations related to diabetes in England from 2014 to 2017, representing an increase of 19.4 per cent from 2010-2013.
Figures show a significant rise in minor lower limb amputations (26.5 per cent), defined as below the ankle, and a more gradual increase in the number of major lower limb amputations (4.1 per cent), defined as below the knee.
At least £1 in every £140 of NHS spending goes towards footcare for people with diabetes. In a bid to reduce this, Diabetes UK is calling on NHS England to commit to maintaining the Diabetes Transformation Fund – which has invested more than £80 million across England since 2017 to improve care including access to specialist footcare teams – beyond 2019.
Diabetes UK’s Head of Care Dan Howarth said: “The shocking number of lower limb amputations related to diabetes grows year on year. 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.
“To reduce the number of amputations related to diabetes, we are calling on NHS England to maintain the Diabetes Transformation Fund beyond 2019. Many diabetes amputations are avoidable, but the quality of footcare for people living with diabetes varies significantly across England. Transformation funding since 2017 is working and will help to reduce these variations, but much work still needs to be done.”
It is vital that all people living with diabetes know how to look after their feet, and check them regularly to look out for the signs of foot problems, Diabetes UK said.
The charity also said its was crucial that people with diabetes know how important it is to seek medical attention if they spot any signs of foot problems because a matter of hours can make the difference between losing a foot, and keeping a foot.