Diabetes-related amputations rise by a fifth

Clinical

Diabetes-related amputations rise by a fifth

The number of lower limb amputations caused by diabetes in England has risen by a fifth since the start of the decade, according to new data from Diabetes UK. 

During 2014-17, there were 26,378 lower limb amputations related to diabetes in England, (an increase of 19.4 per cent since 2010-2013), while the number of minor lower limb amputations (below the ankle) increased by 26.5 per cent. The number of major lower limb amputations (below the knee) increased by 4.1 per cent. Since 2017, NHS England’s Diabetes Transformation Fund has invested more than £80m to improve access to specialist footcare teams in England.

“The shocking number of lower limb amputations related to diabetes grows year-on-year. An amputation, regardless of whether it is defined as minor or major, is devastating and life-changing. A minor amputation can still involve losing a whole foot,” said Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK.

“To reduce the number of amputations related to diabetes, we are calling on NHS England to maintain the Diabetes Transformation Fund beyond 2019,” Mr Howarth added. “Many diabetes amputations are avoidable, but the quality of footcare for people living with diabetes varies significantly across England. Transformation funding is working and will help to reduce these variations, but much work still needs to be done.”

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