Diabetes UK warns not enough people receiving vital check-ups

UK charity Diabetes UK has warned that an “unacceptable” number of people living with diabetes are not receiving an annual foot test as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

The NHS estimates that by 2030 4.6 million people will be living with diabetes in the England. Many of these will not realise that they have the condition.

Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to long-term health problems such as sight loss and amputation, stroke and kidney failure.

Diabetes UK is currently running a campaign, Putting Feet First to raise awareness about the importance of regular checks on the health of feet if you have diabetes.

People with diabetes can suffer nerve damage and poor circulation which can reduce the feeling in their feet and legs.  In turn they may develop serious ulcers which do not heal because of the reduced blood flow. Foot or leg amputation can then follow.

According to the charity more than 100 people undergo diabetes-related amputations in the UK each week. The charity says 80% of these could have been prevented.

The charity analysed NHS statistics which show that over 400,000 people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not having an annual foot check.

The charity is also concerned that where patients do receive checks these can be cursory, with patients not being asked to remove their shoes or socks, or being warned about the risk of developing complications, or how to prevent those risks.

Diabetic patients should urgently seek medical advice if they notice:

  • Breaks in the skin of the foot
  • Changes in the colour of the skin of the foot, particularly if it turns more red, blue, page or dark
  • Any extra swelling around a blister or foot injury

'Specialist medical negligence solicitor Sanja Strkljevic from law firm Leigh Day commented:

“As more people are predicted to be living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the UK it is vitally important that patients, GPs and health workers are fully aware of the importance of good foot health for diabetics.

“I am all too aware of the devastating consequences for patients whose diabetes and its associated complications have been mistreated or not recognised, leading to them having to undergo life-changing lower limb amputations.

“I welcome the campaign that Diabetes UK has launched and hope that doctors and medical staff will fully alert to the importance of ensuring that their diabetic patients receive the regular foot checks they need to prevent unnecessary amputations”.