DIABETES – a lifelong condition which can be caused as a result of obesity – costs the NHS millions of pounds a year.
This can lead to amputation as a result of incurable foot ulcers.
Now a charity has said NHS England could save as much as £250million a year – a quarter of the £1 billion it spends on diabetes foot care.
Diabetes UK found significant savings could be made by improving foot care services and by reducing the number of foot ulcers in people with
It argued saving £250 million would pay for the 7,000 podiatrists needed in England to ensure every person with diabetes received adequate specialist foot care.
Chris Askew, Diabetes UK chief executive said: “There are more than 20 leg, foot or toe amputations each day and most of these result from a diabetic foot ulcer.
“Today, around 60 to 75,000 people with diabetes experience a foot ulcer.
NHS Commissioners should be spending money treating ulcers rather than on managing their extreme consequences.
“NHS Commissioners should be spending money treating ulcers rather than on managing their extreme consequences.
“And prompt treatment for a person with a foot ulcer can prevent both the personal and economic cost of an amputation.
“It makes sense for NHS Commissioners and budget-holders to invest now in effective foot care services, especially as the diabetes crisis facing the UK means an ever growing number of people are being diagnosed with the condition.”
Researchers found NHS Trusts that introduced or rearranged specialist foot services – in hospital or the community – had improved prevention and treatment of foot problems for people with diabetes.
Gary Mabbutt, Tottenham and England defender said: “Taking good care of my feet wasn’t just about keeping fit as a footballer but because my diabetes can severely affect them.
“I was lucky. When I lost the feeling in my leg I was able to see a professional really quickly and this didn’t develop into needing an amputation. But thousands of people with diabetes do lose limbs, 20 people with diabetes have an amputation every day.
“Being able to see a foot specialist and getting the right treatment at the right time is a vital for all of us who live with diabetes.”
At least £1 in every £140 of NHS expenditure in England is spent on foot care for people with diabetes.
Most of that money is spent on treating foot ulcers.