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Urgent call for better foot care as amputation figures rise

Urgent call for better foot care as amputation figures rise

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The "postcode lottery" of diabetes-related amputations is getting worse in England, a leading charity has claimed. 

New figures released by Diabetes UK show that people with diabetes in the worst performing area (Fareham and Gosport) are now seven times more likely to have an amputation than those in the best performing area (Brent, in London). 

Last year, people in the worst performing area were 5.4 times to have an amputation than in the best performing area. 

The figures, which are based on NHS data, show that there are more than 100 lower limb amputations in the UK every week. 

Diabetes UK claims that up to 80% of diabetes-related amputations are avoidable.

According to the charity, some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have improved aspects of diabetes foot care, but there are "still too many" amputations happening. 

Diabetes UK has called on CCGs to focus on improving foot care and to put in place a plan to reduce the number of amputations. 

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Given the appallingly high levels of preventable diabetes-related amputations, it is hugely disappointing that these latest figures have not shown a reduction in the rate. It means we are continuing to see thousands of people losing their feet when better healthcare could have prevented this from happening.

“It is also worrying that the gap between the best and the worst performing areas is getting wider. The postcode lottery around amputations is now so great that if you have diabetes then where you live is one of the single biggest predictors of whether you will end up having one." 

Diabetes UK claims the latest data shows: 

 - Too many people with diabetes not getting a good quality annual foot check or not being informed about their risk status at the end of their check.

 - Some people with active foot disease not being referred to a team of specialists quickly enough, despite the fact that diabetes-related foot problems can deteriorate in a matter of hours.

 - Many people with diabetes not having their feet checked when they stay in hospital, even though the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends every hospital inpatient with diabetes should get their foot checked during their stay.

 - Too many hospitals still do not having specialist foot care teams or, if these teams are in place, not referring patients with foot disease to them quickly enough.

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