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Campaign to reduce diabetes foot amputations

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith
new guidance caring for diabetic feet 1

23rd February 2013 -- Thousands of people a year have feet amputated from diabetes-related foot problems, because foot ulcers are not treated soon enough, according to a new report.

The problem is so serious that it is being described as a ' foot attack'.

The report, called 'Fast Track For A Foot Attack: Reducing Amputations', warns that too many areas do not have the systems in place to ensure serious foot problems in people with diabetes are treated within 24 hours.

The report comes from Diabetes UK, the Society for Chiropodists and Podiatrists, NHS Diabetes and Diabetes Voice.

One expert who worked on the report tells us diabetic footcare in England in Wales has been a 'Cinderella service' for too long. The NHS in Scotland has already announced new diabetes foot checks called CPR for Feet - to check, protect and refer foot problems.

Feet first, fast

In a person with diabetes, foot ulcers can deteriorate rapidly and just a few hours delay in treatment can mean a foot being lost.

There are around 6,000 diabetes-related amputations a year. Up to 80% of these are believed to be preventable. 50% of people with diabetes die within two years of an amputation.

The report's recommendations include:

  • Hospitals should have a multi-disciplinary footcare team bringing together different experts to ensure good quality care for foot problems in people with diabetes. Having these teams is part of guidance to the NHS from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. However, Diabetes UK says around 40% of hospitals don't have teams in place.
  • Every hospital should guarantee that people with urgent foot problems can be assessed by the special team within 24 hours.
  • Every area should have a system for identifying and regularly reviewing people at high risk of foot ulcers and infections, including annual foot checks.
  • People with diabetes who are at high risk of having foot problems should be trained about what to look for and where to go in the event of a foot attack.

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