Concerns raised over rates in diabetic foot amputations
Recent data released by the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities has revealed vast inequalities in the rate of amputations caused by diabetic foot disease across England.
Over 3.5 million people in England are registered as having diabetes and this figure is increasing year on year. Lower-limb complications such as ulceration or neuropathy are common in the population and, without the correct level of care, can lead to traumatic and avoidable amputations.
Between 2017/18 and 2019/20 there were 15,663 major lower-limb amputations carried out in England, with 7,957 (51%) of these being performed on patients with diabetes. This means that the average rate of major amputation in diabetic patients is 8.1 per 10,000 patients, however, this figure varies significantly depending on where patients live with 2.1 more amputations per 10,000 people in the North West than in London. The highest rate in the country can be found in Blackpool which, at 16.8 per 10,000, is more than double the national average.
As well as having a significant cost to the NHS, major lower-limb amputations are significant life-altering events which can impact every aspect of a patient’s life; they will need to go through intensive physiotherapy to learn to walk using a prosthetic, alterations may need to be made to their home to ensure sufficient wheelchair access, and they may develop significant care needs or require intensive support to help regain their independence following surgery.
Often the level of provision available through the NHS or social services is simply not sufficient to provide patients with the resources and support they need.
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If you believe that you have suffered an unnecessary amputation due to inappropriate or substandard medical treatment, please get in contact with our specialist Medical Negligence team on 0330 404 0777 or fill out our online enquiry form.
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