There are more than 4,400 amputations every year in Australia as a result of diabetes.
This is the second highest rate in the developed world.
In 2005, more than 1000 people with diabetes died as a direct result of foot ulcers and lower limb wounds – around 8% of all diabetes related deaths.
Every year there are 10,000 hospital admissions in Australia for diabetes-related foot ulcers in Australia – many of these end with people having a limb, or part of a limb, amputated.
Recent data suggests rates of diabetes-related amputations increased by over 30% between 1998 and 2011 – clearly this is unsustainable.
Experts estimate diabetic foot disease costs Australia around $875 million every single year.
The average cost of a diabetes-related limb amputation is around $23,555, and an additional annual spend of $6,065 every year afterwards. Over five years a diabetes related amputation costs the health system almost $50,000 and that doesn’t include social costs.
Recent new research suggests investing in evidence-based care for Australians with diabetic foot ulcers could save around $2.7 billion over five years. That is around $9,000 per person aged under 75 and $12,000 per person aged over 75 (both over five years).
Patients with diabetic foot ulcers have morbidity and mortality rates on par with aggressive forms of cancer.
Diabetes complications – like diabetic foot ulcers – massively increases the cost of providing healthcare to people with diabetes. For instance, the cost of providing healthcare to someone who has had a diabetic foot ulcer is more than five times higher (5.4) than providing healthcare to someone who doesn’t have a foot ulcer.
Limb amputations are threatening to bankrupt our hospital system. People with diabetes hospitalised for lower limb amputation have longer stays in hospital than other diabetes-related conditions. The average length of stay is around 26 days.
Research shows it is possible to reduce preventable amputations and hospitalisation by as much between 24 to 90%.
Around 85% of diabetes related amputations are preventable if wounds are detected early and managed appropriately.