Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels and the International Diabetes Federation recently stated that 415 million people aged 20-79 across the world are now known to have the condition. It is further speculated that this is due to increase to more than 642 billion by 2040. This is exceptionally concerning as we know that in the UK we have over four million people already diagnosed, with 10 million people considered to be at high-risk of type 2 diabetes. This places these individuals at increased risk of foot disease, especially at diagnosis, if intervention prevention strategies are not in place.

One person tragically dies from a diabetes-related avertable complication every seven seconds across the world, with foot complications including neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease presenting major preventable health challenges.

The lifetime risk of someone with diabetes developing a foot ulcer is suggested to be 25% and a further 85% of amputations are preceded by the presence of foot ulceration. In the UK, approximately 135 leg, foot and toe amputations take place on people with diabetes each week. Across the world this equates to an amputation caused by diabetes occurring every 20-30 seconds. Interestingly, 80-85% of all amputations caused by diabetes are largely preventable. People with diabetes are nine times more likely to experience a minor amputation and five times more likely to undergo a major amputation than counterparts without diabetes.

Life expectancy is greatly affected. It is estimated that 80% of people die within five years of having an amputation for diabetes related vascular or neuropathic ulceration. Mortality is greater for people with diabetes related foot disease than for people experiencing either colon, breast or prostatic cancers. Despite this, diabetes and diabetes-related foot syndrome does not carry the same emotive response in the general public that a diagnosis of cancer generates.

Diabetes UK suggested that four out of five amputations in the UK are entirely preventable if more proactive care and a prompt referral to specialist teams had been in place.

Diabetes UK is campaigning to raise awareness of the complications of diabetes, including foot problems and amputations. The aim is to improve foot care services for people with diabetes, reduce the rate of amputations and to raise awareness of the services people should receive. Diabetes UK’s are concerned about foot care services for people with diabetes and the scale of the problem.

NICE reports “We have to be proactive in care to avoid amputation in people with diabetes at risk of, or living with, diabetic foot syndrome. Practitioners can work in partnership with people to avoid preventable amputation by expediting assessment and prompt referral to a multidisciplinary footcare team.”

Advice and Support

Here at Anthony Collins Solicitors, we support the recommendation for integrated care. People benefit from care that is person-centred and co-ordinated within healthcare settings. For care to be integrated, organisations and care professionals need to bring together all of the different elements of care that a person needs.

Our specialist team of medical negligence Solicitors have a history of representing those who need amputation as a result of medical negligence. We also represent people who have also lost a limb as a result of a road traffic accident or an accident at work.

We can help people get through what can be a hugely traumatic time. We don’t stop at claiming compensation. We’ll help you access the care or support you need to help adjust to life after the loss of a limb. We understand the importance of the future. We work with specialist prosthetics providers and rehabilitation experts, keeping up with the latest developments in amputation treatment. You might need house adaptations to make things easier, or advice setting up a personal injury trust to protect your compensation.

For more information

For further information please contact Stephanie Moustache.