Diabetes amputation postcode lottery worsening, says charity

The 'postcode lottery' of diabetes-related amputations has worsened in the past year, according to a new analysis that shows a growing divide between the best and worst performing areas in England.

Diabetes UK called on GP practices to offer more foot checks to diabetes patients (photo: iStock)
Diabetes UK called on GP practices to offer more foot checks to diabetes patients (photo: iStock)

NHS data analysed by Diabetes UK show there are now seven times as many lower limb amputations among diabetes patients in the worst performing areas compared with the best, a rise from 5.6 times as many in figures published last year.

There were 5.1 amputations per 1,000 adults with diabetes in Fareham and Gosport between 2010 and 2013, compared with just 0.7 per 1,000 in Brent.

Although the overall national rate of diabetes-related amputations was unchanged at 2.6 per 1,000 adults with diabetes, it represents a worsening of the postcode lottery in prevention of amputations.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said that despite 'real improvements' in foot care instigated by CCGs and hospitals over the past two years, still too few people with diabetes were getting annual foot checks.

She called on GP practices to provide more, high-quality checks.

'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,' she said. 'It means we are continuing to see thousands of people losing their feet when better healthcare could have prevented this from happening.'

She called on the government to explain how it would meet a commitment to half the rate of amputations over the next four years.

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