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Record high numbers of diabetes amputations

20 diabetes amputations every day, says Diabetes UK

Adrian O'Dowd

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

There are around 20 diabetes-related amputations every day in England – a record high – according to a new analysis released today by Diabetes UK.

The figures were calculated using Diabetes Footcare Activity Profiles data from, Public Health England’s National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network, and show the number of diabetes-related amputations was now 7,370 a year, compared to the previous figure of 7,042 when comparing 2014-15 with 2012-13.

Although the overall rate of amputations has stayed the same, the figures are higher because of the sharp increase in the number of people developing diabetes in the past 20 years.

Diabetic foot disease remains the most common cause of hospital admission associated with the condition.

The charity said that it was positive that the major amputation rate (classed as amputations above the ankle) has fallen slightly since Diabetes UK launched its Putting Feet First campaign in 2012, but it was still worried about the variation rates between the best and the worst performing areas which were continuing to widen.

This was the case despite the fact that with good diabetes healthcare and support, experts estimate that four out of five amputations could be prevented.

The data showed that those areas more successful in tackling diabetes-related amputation continued to lower their rates, whereas the rate for the worst performing had not dropped in the last year.

Diabetes UK called on the government and the NHS to do more to tackle the problem by improving diabetes footcare and said it wanted to see targeted action to improve the worst performing areas where rates were worsening or failing to improve.

Everyone with diabetes should have access to trained healthcare professionals, footcare protection teams and multidisciplinary footcare teams to make sure problems are identified and treated early and urgently, said the charity.

Its chief executive Chris Askew said: “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.

“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, especially with regard to significant variation from GP practices and between different health areas.”

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