Embargoed until 00.01 hours 15 July 2015
New figures have revealed that the number of diabetes-related amputations a week in England has now reached an all-time record high of 135, according to new analysis by Diabetes UK.
The figures, calculated using new Public Health England data, show that the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now more than 7,000, compared to the previous figure of 6,677. This equates to seven more amputations each week. Yet, with good diabetes and footcare, up to 80% of these amputations can be avoided.
The figures show that despite a big focus on preventing these amputations, the amputation rate for major and minor amputations combined in people with diabetes has stayed the same. And because of the sharp increase in the number of people with diabetes in the past 20 years, the number of diabetes-related amputations is rising.
There is, though, some positive news in that the major amputation rate (classed as amputations above the ankle) has decreased slightly since Diabetes UK launched the Putting Feet First campaign in 2012.
Diabetes UK is calling on the Government and the NHS to do more to tackle the problem of diabetes-related amputation by improving diabetes footcare. This includes ensuring everyone with diabetes gets good quality annual foot checks and that anyone who has a foot problem gets the right care to prevent or treat it. It is particularly important that if anyone with diabetes has a foot infection they get urgent attention from a team of specialists.
To highlight the human tragedy behind these statistics, Diabetes UK is today (Wednesday 15 July) displaying 135 shoes to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations a week. They have been donated from people who have had an amputation, supporters and celebrities and each has a personal message attached to it.
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.
“We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, 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.
“We need urgent action to address this, and with the shoes on display today we want to send a powerful message about the scale of this issue. The vast majority of these amputations are not inevitable and we need people to show us they care about what is happening and take action to help us help many more people avoid the trauma of amputation. That’s why we’re asking people to tweet the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, about this using #135shoes. For more information on this and other ways to get involved visit our website.”
Celebrities who have donated signed shoes for our 135 event include:
The shoes will be displayed all day (9am – 5pm) outside the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster. Spokespeople from Diabetes UK, MPs and supporters, including people who have had an amputation, will all be attending the event. If you would like to attend please contact the press team on the contact details below
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For further media information please contact Gabriel Roberts on 0207 424 1064 or the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 020 7424 1165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07541 631866. ISDN facilities available.
Notes to editor:
For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Global/Homepage/News/Journalists_Guidance_Update_2015.pdf