Published on 2 May 2019

New report highlights the cost of treating diabetes-related foot ulcers and amputations to the NHS in England.

Almost £1 billion is being spent annually by NHS England to treat diabetes-related foot ulcers and amputations.

According to a new study to estimate the healthcare costs of diabetes-related foot complications in England the cost of health care for ulceration and amputation in diabetes for 2014–2015 was estimated between £837 million and £962 million.

Researchers believe this figure could be reduced by more than £250 million if the NHS helped reduce a third of people being treated for diabetes-related foot complications.

The figures represent 0.8% to 0.9% of the NHS budget for England.

The study, recently published in Diabetic Medicine, was compiled using patient data and evidence from clinical studies by a team of healthcare experts including Professor Gerry Rayman, of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, and William Jeffcoate of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and health economist Marion Kerr.

The results found that more than 90% of the diabetes-related foot treatment expenditure was related to ulceration, and 60% was for care in community, outpatient and primary settings.

The study also found that hospital stays for people with diabetes-related foot ulceration could be around 8.04 days longer than for diabetes admissions without ulceration.

Study authors concluded: “Diabetic foot care accounts for a substantial proportion of healthcare expenditure in England, more than the combined cost of breast, prostate and lung cancers. Much of this expenditure arises through prolonged and severe ulceration.

“If the NHS were to reduce the prevalence of diabetes-related foot ulcers in England by one‐third, the gross annual saving would be more than £250 million. Diabetic foot ulceration is a large and growing problem globally, and it is likely that there is potential to improve outcomes and reduce expenditure in many countries.”

Read the report in Diabetic Medicine
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