The national charity Diabetes UK has highlighted the very poor rates for amputation for patients with diabetes in the South West.
A recent study comparing lower leg amputation rates in local health trusts in England, which was published in the journal Diabetologia, showed that the rates are worse than for the rest of England, and have been labelled unacceptable by the charity and explained as being due to a lack of organisation. With the average amputation rate across England being 2.7 per 1,000 patients, the rate in Somerset was found to be 4.8, Dorset was 4.6, Devon was 4.4, while it was 4 for Plymouth. The rate for Cornwall was not much better, reported to be 3.6 per 1,000.
The NHS trusts admitted that the rates were a matter of concern and that further work was being undertaken to help improve the early treatment of health issues that can lead to amputation. A spokesperson for NHS Devon also said they that doctors were working hard to identify those with diabetes and to treat them quickly, and that a decision to amputate was “never taken lightly.”
Graham Cooper, a regional manager at Diabetes UK, commented “It is probably down to a lack of organisation and resources because most of these amputations could be avoided. Quite honestly it’s unacceptable that 80 per cent of amputations are probably unnecessary.”

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