Patients with diabetes are at greater risk in the UK because there is an “appalling” lack of specialist services, according to Diabetes UK.
Sufferers of diabetes in the UK could be at a greater risk of losing a foot because there is a lack of specialists services. The condition can reduce the amount of blood reaching the feet, which can result in a loss of sensation, gangrene and amputation.
In a recent survey, the charity found that 84 of the 206 hospitals surveyed in England and Wales had no specialist diabetes foot-care teams. They added that having such services on site can save the NHS a lot of money, and can also lead to a vast improvement in the quality of life for those who suffer from the condition.
Diabetes sufferers are 20 times more likely to have an amputation than someone with normal blood sugar. The procedure is often preceded by the formation of ulcers on the foot, but rapid treatment can prevent amputation from being required all together.
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said: “It is appalling that so many hospitals are letting down people with diabetes by still not having one of these teams in place.
“It is a tragic example of the short-termist approach of some hospitals that they are failing to invest in a multi-disciplinary foot-care team despite the fact that the financial savings from doing fewer amputations is likely to outweigh the cost of setting up one of these teams.”
The charity also carried out a report earlier in the year showing that specialists services could save a good deal of money in hospitals. They concluded that if one hospital spent £33,000 a year on the service, they could save up to £250,000 a year by reducing the number of amputations.
Speaking at the time of the report, NHS Diabetes director of , Anna Morton, said: “It is not acceptable that thousands of people with diabetes lose a limb each year because of poor quality care.
“It is even less easy to accept when we now have such a strong economic case for change.”