Diabetes: The grim reality

Amputee Janet Richards
Amputee Janet Richards

FIGURES have revealed that 140 people had a diabetes-related amputation in a three year period in the borough.

Between 2011/12 and 2013/14, 56 people in Wigan required a major amputation, above the ankle, with 84 having to have minor amputations as a result of diabetes.

The number of major amputations in Wigan is worse than the national average, with 1.1 in every 1,000 people with diabetes in the town having to have an major amputation annually compared to 0.8 in England.

The difference means that 13 fewer amputations would have been carried out in the three year period than if Wigan met the national average.

Dr Liam Hosie, GP and clinical lead at Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The care of people with diabetes in Wigan is constantly improving and we are in the process of commissioning new enhanced care pathway for prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes.

“We in Wigan borough have higher incidence of smoking, high BMI, high cholesterol and perhaps are not physically as active as in some other parts of the country. We are keen to deal with all these issues and hope we will not just meet the national benchmark but beat it.

“We would recommend that all diabetic patients attend their regular check-ups, as we know that good management of diabetes and cholesterol will help reduce the risk of problems developing.”

Diabetes UK announced this week that 7,000 diabetes-related amputations were carried out in England annually and that 80 per cent of these could be avoided with better education.

But the charity is calling on the Government and the NHS to do more to tackle the problem of diabetes-related amputation by improving diabetes foot care.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern because we know the devastating impact they have on people’s lives.

“We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done.”

And to highlight the human tragedy behind these statistics, the charity displayed 135 shoes donated from people who have had an amputation, supporters and celebrities to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations a week.