As many as 135 amputations resulting from complications to type 1 and 2 diabetes are carried out each week in England, according to research from Diabetes UK.
The research, based on data recently released by PHE, found that 7000 diabetes-related amputations were performed in England last year, compared to 6677 in the previous year, a rise of roughly seven each week. The research also found that approximately 80% of the amputations could have been avoided if the patient had received high quality foot care and health checks.
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.'
In light of the figures, Diabetes UK is urging healthcare professionals to combat diabetes-related amputation by improving diabetes foot care. This includes ensuring that patients with diabetes are able to access annual foot checks. The charity said it is important that if anyone with diabetes has a foot infection they get urgent attention from a team of multi-disciplinary specialists.
Ms Young added: 'We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes foot care, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done. 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 they don't understand their risk of amputation, how to look after their feet or the urgency of getting help if their foot deteriorates.'
Diabetes UK is hosting an event on 15 July to highlight the findings of the research. The organisation will display 135 shoes at the Queen Elizabeth Centre in London to represent the number of amputations being performed each week. It is urging supporters to tweet Jeremy Hunt using #135shoes to demand more is done to reduce the number of diabetes-related amputations.