Jane highlights toll of limb loss
Published on: 14 Aug 2015
JANE Knight, from Downend, who has lost limbs because of diabetes, is involved in a high-profile campaign to reduce avoidable diabetes-related amputations.
She attended an event in Westminster to highlight the fact that amputations in England have reached an all-time high, at 135 a week.
The charity Diabetes UK says up to 80 per cent of these could be avoided with the right diabetes care and footcare.
Jane, 52, who has had Type 1 diabetes for 42 years, is a wheelchair user due to having both her legs amputated as well as her right arm and fingers on her left hand.
She said: “Beyond living with diabetes, I have had to cope with the impact of my amputations, which have had a devastating impact on my own life but also on my family. I used to enjoy playing the piano and violin, but I can no longer do either. I also require a lot of care now and rely on my husband and son to help me get around.
“Managing diabetes can be a daily struggle in itself, and far too many people with the condition go on to develop devastating health complications such as amputations.”
Jane joined Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore at the event, where 135 shoes were on display to represent the weekly amputations. The shoes had had been donated by people who had had an amputation, supporters and celebrities and each shoe had a personal message attached.
Mr Skidmore said: “Jane shared with me her own experience of living with an amputation. She also talked compellingly of her concerns about the rise in diabetes-related amputations and the ways in which they could be prevented such as ensuring everyone with diabetes gets good quality annual foot checks, knows how to look after their feet and, should a foot problem arise, can access the care and treatment they need in the right timeframe.
“Being at the 135 event and meeting Jane highlighted for me the human tragedy behind these stark statistics. I will now be going back to my constituency and talking to the local CCG about what needs to be done to help prevent avoidable amputations and also encouraging the Government to do more to tackle this serious issue.”
The figures - calculated using new Public Health England data - and show that the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now more than 7,000, compared to the previous figure of 6,677. This equates to seven more amputations each week. In South Gloucestershire, the amputation rate is 3.3 people per 1,000, higher than the national average.
The figures show that despite a big focus on prevention, the amputation rate for major and minor amputations combined in people with diabetes has stayed the same. And because of the sharp increase in the number of people with diabetes in the past 20 years, the number of diabetes-related amputations is also rising.
There is, though, some positive news in that the major amputation rate (classed as amputations above the ankle) has decreased slightly since Diabetes UK launched the Putting Feet First campaign in 2012.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We are pleased to have Chris Skidmore MP’s support on this vital issue. The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern because we know the devastating impact they have on people’s lives. As well as the psychological impact, they also cost lives as most people die within five years of having one.
“We have seen some areas making real efforts to improve the poor state of diabetes footcare, but these figures show that there is still so much more to be done.
The charity wants people to tweet the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, about this, using #135shoes. More information is available on the Diabetes UK website.
Celebrities who donated signed shoes for Diabetes UK’s 135 event included:
Bristol-born footballer Gary Mabbutt MBE, who has had Type 1 diabetes since he was a teenager and nearly lost his leg two years ago due to diabetes complications - football boots
X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, whose mum has Type 2 diabetes and is on kidney dialysis due to the condition - a pair of heels
Comedian Joe Pasquale, whose daughter has Type 1 diabetes - the trainers in which he ran the London Marathon
Spice Girl Mel C - a pair of Cavalli heels and her step-brother, the racing driver Paul O’Neill, who has Type 1 diabetes, - a pair of racing boots
Actress Elinor Crawley, who has Type 1 diabetes, - the ballet shoes she wore in a BBC children’s drama
Sky news presenter Stephen Dixon, who has Type 1 diabetes, - shoes he previously wore for work
Bristol’s Olympic Gold figure skater Robin Cousins, who has diabetes in his family - a pair of ice skates (without the blade)