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Record Number of People Undergoing Amputations because of Diabetes

Diabetes UK says too many patients with diabetes are receiving inadequate care from NHS as latest figures show 135 patients a week underwent amputations

 

A nurse giving a patient a diabetes test. An estimated 3.9 million people in the UK have the condition. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

A record 135 people a week are having to undergo amputations as a result of diabetes, NHS figures show.

Previously unpublished figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that 18,080 patients with diabetes underwent an amputation of some sort between 2007 and 2010 – an average of 116 a week. The figures rose to 21,125 in 2011-14, equating to 135 a week, according to data obtained by the charity Diabetes UK.

In 2011-14 a total of 14,367 people lost a toe or part of their foot in minor amputations, and 6,758 had a foot or part of a leg cut off.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern because we know the devastating impact they have on people's lives. As well as the psychological impact, they also cost lives as most people die within five years of having one."

The statistics are a grim reminder of the gradual but relentless increase in the number of people with diabetes. An estimated 3.9 million people in the UK have the condition. About 90% have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to people's lifestyles and obesity. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition unrelated to bodyweight.

Diabetes UK claims that too many diabetics received inadequate care from the NHS. "We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done," Young said.

"For example, not enough people are receiving their annual foot check and those who do often tell us their check was not very thorough. This means that they don't understand their risk of amputation, how to look after their feet or the urgency of getting help if their foot deteriorates."

Although the number of amputations is rising, the proportion per 1,000 of population of people needing one has fallen, from 2.72 in 2007-10 to 2.61 in 2011-14.

PHE pointed out that the number of major amputations had decreased, from 7,187 in 2007-10 to 6,758 in 2011-14.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Diabetes leads to too many amputations every week in the UK and we have committed to doing more to prevent people getting the disease in the first place."

All diabetics should attend appointments for a foot check when offered one by the NHS, the spokeswoman added.

NHS England, PHE and Diabetes UK launched a joint initiative this year aiming to significantly reduce the number of people developing Type 2 diabetes by 2025.

 

Source: The Guardian

 

 

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