Diabetics' Amputation Risks Increase As NHS Checks Missed

As Many As One In Five Not Receiving Annual Foot Checks

28.04.2015

Too many diabetics are not receiving recommended annual tests of the health of their feet, a leading diabetes charity have claimed.

Research from Diabetes UK found that over 400,000 diabetics are at risk of needing amputations due to missing annual foot checks. One in seven people with type 2 diabetes and nearly one in three type 1 sufferers – making up one in five (20%) of the total number of diabetics in the UK – are missing out on the checks.

The checks are important for diabetics as high blood-glucose levels can cause nerve damage, poor circulation and reduced feeling in their feet and legs, which can lead to serious foot problems.

Diabetes currently costs the NHS £10bn a year, and is a common cause of lower limb amputation, stroke and kidney failure.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK's chief executive, said: "Given the high levels of preventable diabetes-related amputations, it is unacceptable that the proportion of people getting the check has already changed over recent years.

"It is one of the reasons so many people with diabetes are forced to endure an amputation and we urgently need to get to a point where everyone with the condition is getting their annual foot check."

Expert Opinion
"The research published by Diabetes UK highlights some incredibly worrying concerns regarding the care and support being provided to diabetic patients. Annual checks on feet are a core part of the care that diabetics receive, so it is shocking that analysis suggests more than 400,000 people are not getting such tests.

"The failure to provide these standard checks leaves patients open to the simply unacceptable risk of amputation as a result of problems which should have been avoided. The NHS and healthcare providers have a duty to put patient safety at the forefront of their work and issues of this nature raise serious questions in relation to that.

"All patients are entitled to high quality care and it is vital that the NHS further investigates these problems with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the issues are addressed."
Sara Burns, Partner