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Every Week, 135 Diabetic Patients Undergo an Amputation

New NHS figures reveal a record 135 patients are undergoing amputations every week due to diabetes.

According to Public Health England data, 18,080 patients with diabetes underwent an amputation between 2007 and 2010 – an average of 116 every week.

Between 2011 and 2014, the figures rose to 21,125 – meaning 135 people underwent an amputation each week. These included 14,367 people who lost a toe or part of their foot and 6,758 people who had to have their foot or part of their leg removed.

Diabetes UK says too many patients with diabetes are receiving inadequate care from the NHS. Diabetes UK Chief Executive Barbara Young 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.”

A York University study published earlier this year said diabetes is an “unfolding public health disaster” that will cost the NHS nearly £17bn within a generation.

An estimated 3.9 million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes, around 90% of whom have Type 2 diabetes which is linked to obesity. Obesity rates in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years which means Type 2 diabetes will continue to be a major health issue for many years to come.

Due to the increasing incidence of the disease, the associated problems from diabetes such as foot ulcers are also likely to become increasingly significant which in turn, means the number of diabetes-related amputations will continue to rise.

Although many areas of the NHS have made significant efforts in combating poor diabetes-related foot care, there is still considerable room for improvement.

Too many patients with diabetes are not being provided with annual foot checks and for those who are receiving checks, the quality, in terms of how thorough the treatment they are receiving, is inadequate.

This means they are not fully aware of their risk of amputation, how important personal foot care is, and how urgently they need to seek help if their feet deteriorate.

The NHS needs to do more to improve diabetes-related foot care by ensuring all patients with diabetes receive good quality annual foot checks and that anyone who suffers issues such as infections with their feet has access to the right kind of urgent care.

The Clinical Negligence team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experts at dealing with failures to properly manage diabetes-related foot ulcers. Our experience has shown that these kinds of failings can have catastrophic consequences that can lead to wholly preventable amputations.

Paul Sankey is a Senior Clinical and Medical Negligence Solicitor leading the Slater and Gordon Lawyers Clinical Negligence team in London.

If you or a loved one have suffered an amputation from a delay in managing your foot ulcer due to clinical or medical negligence, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.

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