The number of amputations carried out due to diabetes has reached an all-time high of 135 a week, a charity has warned, as it urged the Government to do more to ensure those with the condition are given the care and attention they need.
Diabetes UK said that despite a big focus on preventing these amputations, the rate is rising due to the huge increase in the number of people developing the condition, which is often linked to being overweight.
The charity wants people to tweet Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the issue, using the hashtag #135shoes to highlight the fact that the feet are particularly at risk.
It has calculated the figure using new Public Health England data, which show the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now more than 7,000 compared to the previous 6,677, equating to seven more amputations each week.
To highlight the grisly statistics the charity is displaying 135 shoes to represent the number of diabetes-related amputations being carried out a week.
They have been donated from people who have had an amputation, along with supporters and celebrities including former Spice Girl Mel C and singer Alexandra Burke.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Diabetes leads to too many amputations every week in the UK and we have committed to doing more to prevent people getting the disease in the first place.
“That’s why we have launched the first-ever large scale programme to help prevent type 2 Diabetes, and we encourage everyone to take up foot checks that are offered to them by the NHS.”
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern because we know the devastating impact they have on people’s lives. As well as the psychological impact, they also cost lives as most people die within five years of having one.
“We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, but these figures are a stark reminder that there is still so much more to be done. For example, not enough people are receiving their annual foot check and those who do often tell us their check was not very thorough. This means they don’t understand their risk of amputation, how to look after their feet or the urgency of getting help if their foot deteriorates.
“We need urgent action to address this, and with the shoes on display today we want to send a powerful message about the scale of this issue. The vast majority of these amputations are not inevitable and we need people to show us they care about what is happening and take action to help us help many more people avoid the trauma of amputation. That’s why we’re asking people to tweet the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, about this using #135shoes.
For more information on this and other ways to get involved visit our Putting Feet First campaign webpage