A new report from charity Diabetes UK shows that amputation rates have not improved within the last year and that the difference between amputation rates across the country has widened.
If there is any good news, it is that amputation rates have improved in high performing areas such as Brent in London. However, in other parts of the country, amputation rates for people with diabetes have become significantly higher.
In the Fareham and Gosport, an area in and around Portsmouth, the rate of amputations is seven times higher than in Brent. By comparison, in the previous year, the difference between the best and poorest performing areas had been a five fold difference.
Statistics show that people with diabetes are twenty times more likely to suffer a lower limb amputation than the rest of the population. Around 100 such amputations for people with diabetes are carried each week and yet amputations can and should be prevented through quality healthcare.
Diabetes UK estimates that around 4 in every 5 amputations could have been prevented through better care. The fact that some areas of the country are performing substantially better than other parts outlines the fact that the amputation rate can be reduced if poorer performing areas improve their level of diabetes care.
The government is aware of the problems of the unnecessarily high amputation rates for people with diabetes. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has committed to halving the amputation rate by the end of 2017. However, Mr Hunt has to date offered no details of how the amputation rate will be decreased so significantly.
Whilst the NHS needs to improve, you can also use patient power to ensure you are not failed by the NHS. To reduce your risk of amputation, make sure you receive the following care:

A good quality annual foot check that assesses the sensation in your feet and gives you an indication of your risk of foot problems
If you have a foot problem, you are quickly referred to a foot specialist
You receive a foot check during any hospital stay. This should happen whether you are admitted with a foot problem or not.
If you have as foot problem in hospital, you should be quickly seen by a specialist foot care team.

You can also help reduce your risk of foot problems by checking your feet for signs of damage daily. Keeping good control of blood glucose levels can help reduce the likelihood of foot problems developing.
To help people with type 2 diabetes gain better control of their blood glucose levels, Diabetes.co.uk has developed a programme specifically for people with type 2 diabetes that are not on insulin. The Diabetes.co.uk Type 2 Testing programme provides an affordable way for people to obtain self testing supplies if these have not been provided on the NHS.

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