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Diabetes-related lower limb amputations jump nearly 20% in UK

Staff Writer |
According to analysis by Diabetes UK, there were 26, 378 lower limb amputations related to diabetes in England during 2014-17, compared to 22,092 between the years of 2010-13.

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The charity, which looked at regional data on foot care published by Public Health England, said the findings showed an increase in amputations, with a “significant rise” of 26.5% in minor lower limb amputations – below the ankle.

For major lower limb amputations, below the knee, the charity noted a “more gradual increase” of 4.1%.

Overall, Diabetes UK said it was calling on NHS England to commit to maintaining its so-called diabetes transformation fund beyond 2019.

The national body’s NHS Shared Planning Guidance for 2017-2019 set out transformation funding for supporting improvement in the treatment and care of people with diabetes.

Diabetes UK has seen more than £80m invested across England since 2017 to improve access to specialist footcare teams to help those with the condition to look after their feet and avoid amputations, noted Diabetes UK. However, it warned that progress risked stalling if the funding ended after next year.

Diabetes UK highlighted that, based on a 2014 study, diabetes was now the most common cause of lower limb amputations in the UK. It added that those living with the condition were 20 times more likely to experience an amputation than someone without it.

In addition, the charity explained that foot ulcers and amputations were “hugely costly” to the NHS, with at least £1 in every £140 of NHS spending going towards foot care for people with diabetes.

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