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Call for action to reduce rising amputation rates in Southampton


Diabetes UK is calling on Southampton CCG to do more to drastically reduce amputation rates and ensure that people with diabetes in Southampton get the foot care they need.

According to latest figures released by Diabetes UK, the rate of diabetes-related amputations in Southampton is getting worse.The figures, based on NHS data, show that there has been an increase to 4.3 diabetes-related amputations per thousand people with diabetes per year during 2011 – 2014, up from 3.8 since 2009 in the NHS Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

7th highest rate in Britain

This is well above the national average of 2.6 per thousand people with diabetes per year and is the 7th highest rate in England. Further analysis shows that there has been 148 amputations due to diabetes in Southampton over the past three years. But an estimated 80 per cent of amputations are potentially preventable, through improved awareness among people with diabetes and access to good quality structured care.Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK South East Regional Manager, said: “Given the high levels of preventable diabetes-related amputations, it is concerning that the amputation rate in Southampton shows no signs of slowing down. It means we are continuing to see too many people losing their feet and limbs when better healthcare could have prevented this from happening.“Every amputation is a tragedy, as having an amputation s extremely traumatic and has a devastating impact on quality of life. As well as the psychological impact, they also cost lives as many people die within five years of having one.”She said: “We have seen other neighbouring areas such as Fareham and Gosport and West Hampshire making real efforts to improve their previously poor diabetes foot care and in some areas we have seen less people experiencing an amputation as a result. Southampton’s figures are a stark indication that the CCG needs to do more to reduce their rates of diabetes-related amputations.“One area for improvement is addressing the delay to the planned multidisciplinary footcare team which is a 24 hour specialist referral service. Without this service people with diabetes who are identified as having a foot problem are not able to be seen early enough by the relevant specialists. Foot ulcers can deteriorate in a matter of hours so failing to refer someone quickly enough can literally be the difference between losing a limb and keeping it.“We also want to ensure that everyone with diabetes receives a comprehensive foot check, appropriate preventative treatment and education as we know that good diabetes management and early treatment can make all the difference. An easily accessible full Foot Protection Service should be in place to ensure this as when it comes to avoiding an amputation, so it is vital that we take action to address this.”To highlight the human tragedy behind these local statistics Diabetes UK is displaying 148 shoes to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations in the Southampton area over the last three years. They have been donated from people who have had an amputation, supporters and celebrities and each has a personal message attached to it.

Physical and emotional impact


Gerry Buxton, who is photographed above at today's event,  is a retired airforce chef from Eastleigh living with Type 1 diabetes. He lost both his legs 13 years ago within six months of each other.

He says: “The impact of becoming disabled is not only physical but its had a huge emotional affect both on me and my family.”Jill Steaton said: "We need urgent action by the CCG to address amputation rates in Southampton and the shoes on display today will send a powerful message about the scale of this issue. The vast majority of these amputations are not inevitable and we need action to help many more people avoid the trauma of amputation. That’s why we’re asking people to tweet the event about this using #puttingfeetfirst."

Celebrities and local dignitaries who have donated signed shoes for the 148 event include ITV Meridian news presenter Fred Dinenage. He gave Diabetes UK a pair of holiday beach shoes and said: “Some people can’t run away from this issue. Let’s put a stop to unnecessary amputations”.

MP for Gosport and Fred Dinenage’s daughter Caroline Dinenage also gave a pair of her shoes. She said: “In my Gosport constituency, there is a worryingly high rate of unnecessary amputations so I have donated this pair of shoes to support the Diabetes UK campaign to tackle this difficult outcome which affects so many people living with diabetes.”

BBC South Today news presenter, Sally Taylor gave a pair of her floral patterned footwear and said: “I’m doing this for the 148 people who have an amputation every three years in Southampton”

Wave FM morning radio presenter Steve Power has Type 2 diabetes and said: “80 per cent of people die within five years of having an amputation – I’m not comfortable with that statistic. Are you?”.

2012 Olympic torch bearer and local marathon runner, Jim Whitmarsh, donated running shoes and said: “Without my feet I would be unable to run marathons, for anyone to lose limbs is devastating and life changing.”

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