Diabetics losing legs ‘over poor screening’

One person every day is still having a leg amputated because of the Government’s failure to properly fund early diabetes screening checks.

Diabetes Ireland made the claim after new figures showed 365 people underwent the debilitating operation last year. The rate is lower than 2010 and 2011 — 402 and 392 respectively — but Diabetes Ireland health promotions manager Dr Anna Clarke said the apparent inability of senior HSE officials to fill empty posts still means a significant number of patients face losing their legs unnecessarily.

“It is very frustrating to see that diabetes patients accounted for 51% of the total number of patients requiring lower limb amputations... last year,” Ms Clarke said.

The HSE committed to create 16 podiatry posts via a €1m injection in 2011, with a key part of the work to involve checking for the early warning signs of limb loss among sufferers. However, the recruitment embargo and budget problems mean two years later only nine positions have been filled, including a number on a part-time basis.

Labour TD Ciarán Lynch said the reduction in the number of limb amputations every year indicates filling the posts will lead to further improvements in care.


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