More than 400,000 people with diabetes in England are not having an annual foot check, despite these being important for preventing diabetes-related amputation.
The new figures from Diabetes UK, based on NHS data, reveal that an estimated 414,784 people with diabetes in England are not getting the check, which equates to 27.7% of people with Type 1 diabetes and 13.3% of people with Type 2 diabetes.
This is despite the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) saying that everyone with the condition should get one once a year.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We know that good diabetes care can dramatically reduce the risk of amputation. The foot check people should get at least once a year is an essential part of this and so it is worrying that more than 400,000 people with diabetes are still not getting one.
“Given the high levels of preventable diabetes-related amputations, it is unacceptable that the proportion of people getting the check has hardly changed over recent years. It is one of the reasons so many people with diabetes are forced to endure an amputation and we urgently need to get to a point where everyone with the condition is getting their annual foot check.”
Foot checks are vital for people with diabetes because poor control of blood glucose levels can lead to nerve damage, poor circulation and reduced feeling in the feet and legs. This in turn can lead to serious foot problems, such as ulcers, that can lead to amputation.
More than 100 diabetes-related amputations are carried out in the UK every week, and it is thought that up to 80% of them could be prevented. The foot check is a chance for potential problems to be identified, assessed, and preventative action to be taken.
Foot ulcers and amputations are also very costly to the NHS – accounting for around £1 in every £150 the NHS spends each year.
Diabetes UK has published a new leaflet, ‘What To Expect At Your Annual Foot Check’.