More than 100 people have a foot or leg amputated each week as a result of diabetes, but four out of five of these amputations are preventable. Diabetes UK is a partner to the National Diabetes Audit. It links Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) to primary care data to identify areas of the country where the problem is particularly severe and to work with those areas to improve awareness and ensure more targeted treatment to reduce unnecessary amputations.

Why was this work needed?

There are more than 20 diabetes-related leg, foot or toe amputations a day in England, with four out of five of these being preventable. These unnecessary amputations cause suffering to the people involved and are a waste of NHS resources.

What happened?

Diabetes UK is a partner to the National Diabetes Audit, which links Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) to primary care data to identify areas of the country where the problem of preventable amputation is particularly severe.

What were the benefits?

This analysis, demonstrating the extent and regional variation of the problem, provided the evidence for Putting Feet First. This is a UK campaign to reduce the number of preventable amputations linked to diabetes. Run by Diabetes UK, this campaign includes encouraging people with diabetes to be more aware of the possible symptoms that can lead to the need for amputation and what to do if they notice these symptoms, supporting healthcare professionals to take the right approach to diabetic foot care, and encouraging commissioners and NHS planners to deliver an integrated foot care pathway that ensures people with diabetes get the right treatment at the right time.

By pinpointing exactly where in the UK this problem is particularly severe, Diabetes UK is able to target its resources and support commissioners and planners where improvement is most urgently needed.

What type of data was involved?

This work used Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data.

The data was de-personalised by the National Diabetes Audit (part of NHS Digital) before being used.

Who funded and collaborated on this work?

Diabetes UK carried out this work.

Where can I go for more information?

Putting Feet First