Steve joins Croydon campaigner to highlight diabetes-related amputations

 In Croydon, News

A Croydon campaigner who had her leg amputated as a result of diabetes has called on Steve Reed MP to urge the Government to put an end to avoidable diabetes-related amputations which have reached an all-time high in England.

Janet Richards, who lost her leg to Type 1 diabetes nine years ago, and Steve Reed MP attended an event (15 July) held by Diabetes UK outside the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, London, where they saw 135 shoes on display to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations taking place each week in England. The shoes had been donated by people who had had an amputation, supporters and celebrities and each shoe had a personal message attached.

The figures – which reveal amputations are at an all-time high – were calculated using new Public Health England data and show that the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now more than 7,000, compared to the previous figure of 6,677. This equates to seven more amputations each week. Yet, with good diabetes care and footcare, up to 80% of these amputations can be avoided.

The figures show that despite a big focus on preventing these amputations, the amputation rate for major and minor amputations combined in people with diabetes has stayed the same. And because of the sharp increase in the number of people with diabetes in the past 20 years, the number of diabetes-related amputations is rising.

There is, though, some positive news in that the major amputation rate (classed as amputations above the ankle) has decreased slightly since Diabetes UK launched the Putting Feet First campaign in 2012.

Janet said: “I had my right leg amputated below the knee in 2006, six days after my 40th birthday… I am more than interested in helping to reduce diabetes amputations by telling my story to those who will listen.

“Managing diabetes can be a daily struggle in itself, and far too many people with the condition go on to develop devastating health complications such as amputations. This is why I have directly appealed to Mr Reed to raise awareness of the issue and help ensure that the Government and the NHS to do more to tackle the problem of diabetes-related amputation by improving diabetes footcare.”

Steve Reed MP said: “Being at the 135 event highlighted for me the human tragedy behind these stark statistics. I will now be going back to my constituency and talking to health leaders about what needs to be done to help prevent avoidable amputations and also encouraging the Government to do more to tackle this serious issue.”