£600m in foot care for diabetics
The NHS spends £600 million a year treating foot problems linked to diabetes, according to a new report.
Poor foot care in diabetics can lead to disease and amputation if left unchecked, according to research from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) and Diabetes UK.
Of the £600 million spent on foot problems, £252 million goes on amputation which is largely avoidable, it said.
There are currently more than 2.5 million people in the UK with diabetes while around another half a million are undiagnosed.
Diabetes occurs in two forms – Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 usually develops in childhood and sees sufferers requiring insulin injections as soon as they are diagnosed. Type 2 is linked to obesity and inactive lifestyles and, depending on its severity, is managed by diet, drugs or insulin injections.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to suffering disease linked with their feet, especially if their blood sugar has been uncontrolled for long periods.
They may suffer damage to their nerves and also experience issues with blood flow. This can lead to foot ulcers and slow-healing wounds which, if they become infected, can result in amputation.
The SCP and Diabetes UK are now calling on health authorities to ensure they have specialist teams in place for dealing with diabetic feet.
They also want all diabetics admitted to hospital with unrelated conditions to have their risk of foot problems assessed.