Concern over operation rate in Sheffield diabetes patients

General Health tile
General Health tile

The rate of limb amputations among diabetes patients in Sheffield is one of the highest in the country, figures have revealed.

According to the National Diabetes Information Service, almost a third more limbs are lost to diabetic foot disease in Sheffield than elsewhere in the UK.

From April 2009 to March last year there were 3.2 lower limb amputations per 1,000 diabetics in Sheffield, compared to a national average of 2.6 per 1,000.

The charity Diabetes UK has called on the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group to commit to improvements in foot care for people with diabetes, saying many of the drastic procedures could have been prevented.

But Rachel Gillot, the group’s deputy director of operations, said a foot care programme has recently been launched, as well as a dedicated telephone hotline to make quick referrals for treatment.

Linda Wood, the charity’s regional manager, said: “It is deeply worrying that the diabetes-related amputation rate in Sheffield is one of the highest in the country.

“Every amputation is a tragedy, as losing a foot is extremely traumatic and has a devastating impact on quality of life.

“This is why we want Sheffield CCG to take urgent action to deliver the kind of improvements to diabetes foot care in the area that could bring down the amputation rate.”

Ms Wood added: “We will be campaigning for change in Sheffield until people in the area finally get the quality diabetes foot care they deserve.

“Unless foot care improves we are likely to continue to see amputations that could have been avoided.”

Ms Gillot said: “NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group is committed to working with healthcare partners to make improvements in diabetes foot care.

“This includes a recently launched new Foot Care Pathway and dedicated phone line for diagnosing and fast tracking urgent diabetic feet referrals which requires Sheffield patients to be referred and seen within 24 hours.

“The statistics from the National Diabetes Information Service are based on data which has since been updated, and improvements are already being realised.”

From 2009 to 2012 there were 246 hospital admissions in Sheffield in which an amputation was required.

Complications of diabetes which, in serious cases, can require the removal of a foot, include ulceration, infections and neuropathic osteoarthropathy, where the foot’s weight-bearing joints deteriorate.