DIABETES sufferers in the Eastbourne area are 26 times more likely to have an amputation than the rest of the local population.
Around three out of every 1,000 people covered by East Sussex Downs and Weald’s scope who have diabetes end up having to have a lower limb removed.
And while that figure may not seem a lot, it is 25.9 times more than the rate per 1,000 for non-sufferers and higher than the ratio in Brighton and Hove (2.31 per 1,000) and West Sussex (2.06 per 1,000).
The figures were revealed this week by the charity Diabetes UK, which has launched a nation-wide campaign to end what it calls the “national disgrace” of thousands of preventable amputations in people with diabetes.
Its Putting Feet First drive suggest that 80 per cent of limb removals are preventable by better levels of foot care for people suffering from type one diabetes.
And the charity is adamant that an unacceptably high number of hospitals are failing to comply with national guidance on when to refer patients to specialist foot care.
As well as demanding better NHS foot care, the campaign is trying to raise awareness of the issue so that people with diabetes understand how important it is that they look after their feet and know that they should be checking them regularly.
Barbara Young, chief executive at Diabetes UK, told the Herald, “A single preventable amputation is one too many and so the fact that thousands of people in the UK are enduring unnecessary foot amputations is nothing short of a national disgrace.
“A big part of bringing this to an end is giving people with diabetes information about how to look after their feet as many of them are not even aware that amputation is a potential complication.
“But we also need to make sure they understand what healthcare they should be getting.”
To find out more about the campaign, people can visit www.diabetes.org.uk/putting-feet-first or to learn more about how best to spot the early signs of foot trouble, diabetes sufferers should contact their GP.