Foot amputation rate is made a key priority

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AN ACTION plan has been set up to reduce the number of people having foot amputations due to diabetes.

Fareham MP Mark Hoban held a summit to discuss how to cut the rate of amputation for diabetics in Fareham and Gosport.

As reported, figures produced earlier this year showed the area had the highest rate of diabetes-related amputations in the country – 5.1 per 1,000 diabetics.

This is almost twice the national average of 2.6 per 1,000 and seven times that of patients in London.

Mr Hoban called together experts on diabetes and footcare as well as Dr David Chilvers, the chairman of the Fareham and Gosport CCG and his team, which is in charge of buying health services for the area.

Mr Hoban said: ‘Health bosses are committed to cutting the rate of amputations for diabetics in our community, but this won’t be an overnight job.

‘It will take time to bring the rate down in line with the national average, but I believe we can turn it around.

‘We do better than the national average when it comes to treating complications from diabetes such as strokes and angina, so we should, over time, be able to do the same for amputations.’

Dr Chilvers said that tackling the crisis would take several years.

He said: ‘We are looking at a short, medium and long-term approach at tackling this and it will take time.

‘In the short term we will have multi-disciplinary meetings between specialists to see how this can be made better. In the medium term we need to educate our GPs and patients about what signs to look out for and do an audit of activity.

‘The long term is looking at lifestyle and getting people to eat better and exercise more to prevent the onset of diabetes. Having a foot amputation is a life-changing event, and we can’t be scrimping on preventing this.’

Meanwhile amputation rates have fallen in Portsmouth.

Solent NHS Trust, which provides local podiatry care, said amputations have fallen.

In the three years up to August 2011, there were 53 major amputations. In the three years up to January 2014, there were 35 major amputations.

The trust said initiatives such as increasing education around diabetic foot disease, more multi-disciplinary teams and an increase in community care had helped.

Dr Jim Hogan, lead of the Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘It’s good to see we are improving, but we know there’s a way to go yet. When figures came out from Diabetes UK, it showed Portsmouth had a high amputation rate.

‘We took that very seriously.’