We have to welcome the news of a significant reduction in the number of diabetic patients in the Portsmouth area who need to have a major amputation.
While nationally the figure has gone up for all amputations, the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) covering Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport have bucked that trend.
How have they done it? Well, it’s involved a collaboration with the NHS and the charity Diabetes UK.
Schemes range from increasing foot clinics at Queen Alexandra Hospital, focusing on the highest risk patients and reducing waiting times to improving patient education and encouraging patients to take responsibility for their condition.
But perhaps the most telling one is taking a multidisciplinary team approach before surgery, which involves a vascular surgeon, podiatrist and diabetes consultant working together to see if amputation can be averted.
This joined-up approach is clearly paying dividends – but Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for public health at Portsmouth City Council, is absolutely right when he says that there must be no complacency.
While a reduction in the number of amputations is good news, the figures we report on pages 4&5 are still concerning.
Higher than average obesity rates are a big factor in life-changing outcomes for those with diabetes so serious that amputation is the only course of action.
So there are lifestyle issues to be tackled here. But we agree with Raymond Hale, chairman of the Fareham and Gosport Diabetes UK Voluntary Group, when he says that educating people about their diabetes and controlling sugar levels is the best way forward. Because awareness is everything.