A senior NHS consultant has cycled 176 miles to highlight how many diabetes-related limb amputations are being carried out on a weekly basis.
Rob Clarke is an advanced clinical practitioner at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH), who alongside a team of seven other clinicians and industry representatives strove to raise awareness of diabetes-related limb amputations.
The annual team bike ride took place this year along the south coast, which included a 100-mile tour of the New Forest. On day two they circled the Isle of Wight reaching an elevation of 4,500ft.
Mr Clarke said the seven other clinicians and hospital staff were “very tired, but proud” to have completed their mighty challenge, but added that more work needs to be done to raise awareness.
He told Shropshire Star: “We hit on the idea of cycling the same number of miles as there are amputations each week as a result of diabetes-related injury and trauma.
“Sadly, in the space of just five years, this means the distance we cycle has increased from 130 to 176 miles, an increase of over 2,000 amputations.”
Amputation is a long-term risk for people with diabetes, but there was good news earlier this year when Public Health England revealed that the rate of limb amputations among people with diabetes is not significantly increasing.
It is recommended that people with diabetes check their feet on a regular basis to avoid ulcers or infection, and act on any signs of damage to prevent it becoming worse.
Mr Clarke added: “We all need to keep shouting about the importance of early recognition and treatment as we really don’t want these amputations to keep going up, particularly when four out of five start as diabetic foot ulcers, which if reported and assessed early can be reversed and are entirely treatable.
“Experts suggest that through improved awareness and support for patients, around 80% of diabetes-related amputations could be avoided.”