New figures reveal worrying increase of amputations in England

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 30 Aug 2016
New figures reveal worrying increase of amputations in England
New figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that the number of diabetes-related amputations in England has reached a record high of 20 a day.

Diabetes UK, which released the figures, said that while the more successful areas of the UK in tackling diabetes-related amputations have made progress, the worst performing areas need "targeted action" to improve their care.

The figures show that the number of diabetes-related amputations in England is 7,370 a year - an increase on PHE's previous figure of 7,042.

Amputation is very rare in people with diabetes, but it can occur among people who experience complications such as prolonged hyperglycemia, neuropathy and circulation problems.

Experts estimate that four out of five amputations can be prevented because most begin as foot ulcers, which can be treated if detected early. Approximately one in 10 people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in their lives.

Diabetes UK has called on the government and the NHS to significantly improve diabetes foot care in areas where amputation rates are getting worse. According to the PHE data, some NHS trusts are 10 times more likely to perform amputations than others.

"The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern. We know the devastating impact they have on people's lives as well as the huge cost to the NHS, yet we are not seeing action happening quickly enough across all areas of the country to address this," said Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew.

"We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes foot care, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done, especially with regard to significant variation from GP practices and between different health areas."

It is essential to ensure good foot care if you have diabetes as this can help to reduce your risk of complications. Alongside attending your diabetes health checks, there are also several ways in which you can look after your feet at home.
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