New campaign to reduce epidemic of diabetes-related amputations

Australia’s diabetes experts gathered in Sydney this weekend to discuss bold new plans to dramatically reduce the number of diabetes-related amputations in Australian hospitals every year.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said there were around 4,400 amputations performed in Australian hospitals every year - and up to 85 per cent of these could be prevented.

“The number of diabetes-related amputations of toes, feet and limbs is a national tragedy and we need to do more as a community to save limbs, to save lives and to save hospital budgets,” Professor Johnson said.

“Diabetes-related amputations cost the Australian health system around $875 million per year. On top of this, there is a huge personal cost to the individual and their family.” “This is why we are calling on the Australian Government to implement a Diabetes Amputation Prevention Initiative to ensure systematic early detection of foot problems, and early treatment to prevent amputations.”

“We need to ensure people with diabetes understand what they need to do to look after their feet, make sure they can access specialised foot health teams when they need to, and ensure we set targets across the health system to reduce amputations and measure our progress.”

“We can end most diabetes-related amputations within a generation - but we need to act urgently.”

Professor Johnson said Diabetes Australia’s new hard hitting public awareness campaign would raise awareness about this critical issue.

“Most people in the community have no idea that diabetes causes so many amputations. We need to raise awareness within the community and with key political leaders about the scale of the problem, its impact and what we need to do to fix it,” he said.

“The new campaign features the stories of Paul Walker and Ida Ratiner, two people who have lived with type 2 diabetes for many years and have narrowly avoided having limbs amputated thanks to innovative treatment”.

“Every year thousands of Australians are not so lucky and have to undergo traumatic and debilitating amputations. The sad truth is that health outcomes for people undergoing major amputations are poor. Many people will die in the first five years after a major amputation.”