Diabetics in England not getting foot checks

OVER 400,000 diabetic patients in England are not having an annual foot check, increasing their risk of diabetes-related amputation, according to Diabetes UK.

Analysis of NHS data has revealed that an estimated 414,784 people with diabetes in England are not getting the check – equating to 27.7 per cent of people with Type 1 diabetes and 13.3 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes.

Guidance from NICE calls for yearly foot checks for every patient with diabetes. Poor control of blood glucose levels can lead to nerve damage, poor circulation and reduced feeling in the feet and legs, resulting in 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 per cent could be prevented.

Foot ulcers and amputations are estimated to cost £1 in every £150 the NHS spends each year.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: "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."

Diabetes UK has published a new leaflet, What To Expect At Your Annual Foot Check, as part of its 'Putting Feet First' campaign outlining the components of a 'good' foot check, such as a thorough examination and a test of the foot nerves.

The campaign group believes this is necessary so people know what to expect in their checks. It states: "This is needed because in many cases where people do get foot checks, they are not thorough enough and people are not told what their risk of developing serious foot problems is."

See the upcoming Spring issue of Summons for more on risks in diabetes-related ulcers and other foot complications