Number of 'devastating' diabetes amputations soars in South Gloucestershire

October 02 2018

The number of diabetic people having toe, foot and limb amputations in South Gloucestershire has shot up since 2014.

Between 2011-12 and 2013-14, there were 118 amputations due to diabetes in the NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group area, according to data published by Public Health England.

By the end of the 2014-15 to 2016-17 period, this figure had risen to 134, an increase of 14%.  The biggest increase was in minor or below-the-ankle amputations, such as of the toe or foot. These rose from 85 to 106, an increase of 25%.

The Royal College of Surgeons says that, despite the name, minor amputations can have a major impact on patients. They can be difficult to heal, could impair walking, and may even lead to further infections, they said. 

According to the charity Diabetes UK, foot problems are the most common cause of hospital stays for people with diabetes. The disease can cause a loss of blood supply and feeling in the legs and feet, which can in turn cause ulcers and infections. 

Public Health England estimates that around 8% of the NHS South Gloucestershire CCG's population have either been diagnosed with diabetes or are living with it undiagnosed.

This would mean around 21,000 people currently have the disease, based on the most recent population estimates.

Dan Howarth, head of care for Diabetes UK, said: "The latest figures show that, unfortunately, there’s still a great deal of work to be done to tackle rising number of diabetes-related amputations across England.

Amputations devastate lives. It’s so important that everyone with the condition has access to diabetes foot services, and the support of podiatrists and foot care protection teams.”