Marion Kerr, Insight Health Economics, for Diabetes UK
Ulceration and amputation exact a heavy toll on the lives of many thousands of people with diabetes every year. They also cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds annually. In this paper, we produce estimates of the numbers of people with diabetes experiencing ulcers or amputations in England each year, and of the cost of their care. We also examine the quality of current care for the diabetic foot, and the potential for improved care both to improve and lengthen lives, and to reduce NHS costs. We look at services around the country where improvements in the quality of diabetic foot care have been followed by reductions in ulceration and amputation rates, and savings to the NHS.
People with diabetes are around 23 times as likely to have a leg, foot or toe amputation as those without diabetes.1 Approximately 8 out of every 10,000 people with diabetes undergo major lower extremity amputation (above ankle) each year, and 18 out of 10,000 have minor amputation (below ankle).