Assembly Member says screening can reverse rise in diabetes related amputations

January 28, 2010 10:25 AM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister, Peter Black has found that there has been a 44% increase in the number of diabetes-related limb amputations occurring over the past eight years and called for increased screening as a result.

In 2000, 224 operations occurred as a result of Type 2 Diabetes. However, by 2008 this had risen to 323. Diabetes sufferers are more likely to develop foot ulcers which if infected can lead to gangrene.

Diabetes can impair blood flow to the area, as well as damaging nerves which may mean that those with problems are less likely to notice them. The problem becomes more difficult to treat the longer that it is left. Around 130,000 people in Wales have been diagnosed with diabetes, yet it is estimated that thousands more may be unaware that they suffer from it.

On February 24th 2004 Assembly Members voted unanimously to 'develop active case finding throughout Wales of Type 2 diabetes, involving regular targeted screening'. However there is still a concern that screening can be patchy and inconsistent.

Peter Black said: "While those who suffer from diabetes can lead a life often virtually the same as those without the condition, losing a limb can have a dramatic impact on their lifestyle. Yet with early detection and treatment, many of these operations would not occur."

"The Assembly has already accepted that there is a need for better screening within Wales, but there are still gaps and many people do not realise that they suffer from diabetes. If we screen those whose lifestyles put them at risk of diabetes, many could be detected."

"It is estimated that 10% of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes, which is a significant proportion. Much of this is spent managing the problems of those who are not coping with their condition and the amount spent on this could be reduced by early detection. Targeted screening and education on diabetes could potentially have a cost benefit to the NHS in Wales as well as leading to less people having to have their limbs amputated."

What would you like to do next?