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56,000 people with diabetes in Scotland at increased risk of amputations

One in four people with diabetes in Scotland are at increased risk of amputation because they have not had their feet checked, an essential annual check which tests for some of the more serious diabetes complications.

There are already 10,292 people with diabetes in Scotland who have ulcers as result of diabetic foot disease. However, last year 11,293 people with Type 1 diabetes and 45,665 with Type 2 diabetes did not have their feet checked for possible diabetes complications.

The NHS in Scotland have launched a programme to assess people’s risk of diabetes related foot disease, however 6 out 10 of people with Type 2 diabetes and two thirds of people with Type 1 diabetes have missed out on this screening. Diabetes UK Scotland is now warning that people’s health could be at risk because they are missing out on a range of health checks and specialist services.

Checklist of 15 measures

Foot screening is one of achecklist of 15 measures(PDF, 164KB), to help people understand what services they should get to help them manage their condition.

Jane-Claire Judson, National Director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said, "Over 10,000 people in Scotland have existing complications with their feet and over 1,200 people have lost a lower limb. It is for these very important reasons Diabetes UK Scotland sees the 15 Measures as an important tool to make sure everyone diagnosed with diabetes in Scotland receives the best care possible."

Recent figures show that people with diabetes are also not receiving other essential annual checks. One in five (19.8 per cent) of people with Type 1 diabetes and one in seven (13.9 per cent) with Type 2 diabetes have not have their eyes checked for diabetic retinopathy.

In addition, one in five (18.1 per cent) with Type 1 diabetes and one in twelve (8 per cent) with Type 2 diabetes did not have a kidney test check.

Avoidable long-term complications

Barbara Young, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said, "Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to devastating long-term complications including blindness, kidney failure and amputations. The tragedy is that, for example, 90 per cent of cases of sight loss could have been avoided if they had been identified early enough and treated appropriately.

"The 15 measures will help ensure people with diabetes are getting the care they need, and if they’re not, Diabetes UK wants people to use the checklist and ask for the standards of care that have been recommended by expert bodies and patients across the UK. With the right care and education, there is no reason why people with diabetes shouldn’t live long and healthy lives."

The 15 measuresare part of Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Watch campaign, a programme to monitor and highlight standards of diabetes care across the UK, and to support people with diabetes to get access to the right standards of care. The charity wants people to use the checklist and if there are any gaps in care, raise the issue with their healthcare team.

These 15 measures may not all be appropriate for children. Children will generally have more frequent HbA1c measurements and do not generally have formal screening for complications (eg blood pressure, blood fats, eyes feet and kidneys) until they are 12. However, their general health will be monitored by their healthcare team at each appointment.

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