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THE number of diabetes sufferers in East Lancashire who have limbs amputated is ‘significantly’ above the national average.

Research by Diabetes UK has revealed that for every 1,000 people who suffer from the condition in the NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group area, 3.1 ended up having an amputation operation.

Nationally, the figure is 2.6 out of every 1,000.

The most recent East Lancashire figures, from the three years between 2010 and 2013, have not changed since the last study was carried out the year before.

But campaigners said the ‘postcode lottery’ was unacceptable, and called for better foot protection.

Gordon Dixon, chairman of the Diabetes UK Ribble Valley group said: “The percentage of amputations that are preventable is 70 to 80 per cent and that is the disturbing thing.

“I do not think it is being explained to patients how serious diabetes is.

“Diabetes has more complications than any other disease.

“I think there is a lot of educating to be done, not only with the patients, but with health professionals as well to make sure patients understand.”

A spokesman for Diabetes UK said: “Although there have been big improvements in care in some areas, newly-released figures show the postcode lottery of diabetes-related amputations in England is getting worse.

“And what is more unacceptable is that the gap between the worst and best performing areas has got bigger.

“This is particularly worrying as we know that up to 80per cent of amputations are preventable with good diabetes care, and well-commissioned patient pathways, which include fast access, when needed, to foot protection, and multi-disciplinary foot care teams.”

The group is asking Diabetes Voices to call for better foot care.