A DOCTOR has claimed there is 'more support than ever before' for diabetes despite new figures showing a rise in amputations due to the condition.

Public Health England (PHE) data shows the number of major lower limb amputations (above the ankle) have risen in Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area from 13 to 32 in the last six years.

While the number of minor amputations has almost doubled in the same time period from 45 to 87.

Figures for East Lancashire CCG show a decline in the number of major lower amputations from 49 to 40 in the same time period, but the number of minor amputations has risen from 126 to 145, with an increase in the number of people with diabetes blamed for the rise.

But Dr Rahul Thakur, a GP and clinical lead at East Lancashire CCG, said that diabetes support is better than ever before.

He was speaking as East Lancashire CCG bosses said that 2,526 people in East Lancashire and 1,535 people in Blackburn with Darwen have signed up to a free diabetes prevention programme.

They said that the combined sign up for Pennine Lancashire to 'The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme of 4,061 over the last year has made the area the most successful for people joining the programme.

Dr Thakur went on to warn about the dangers of diabetes.

He said: “Most people would be shocked to know that around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year across the country.

"Type two diabetes is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke."

NHS chiefs said there are currently five million people in England at high risk of developing type two diabetes.

They said that if these trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in ten will develop type two diabetes.

The diabetes prevention programme aims to help people manage their weight and steer clear of a diabetes diagnosis.

Those referred by their GP following a consultation will receive help to reduce their risk of type two diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help with weight loss (for overweight participants), and physical exercise programmes.

Over nine months patients will be offered at least 13 education and exercise sessions of one to two hours and 16 hours face to face or one-to-one in total.

Nationally, over 17,000 have now completed the programme and have achieved a combined weight loss of over 50,000 kg.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director of diabetes and obesity, said he was delighted.

He said:“Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese; driving higher and higher rates of type 2 diabetes, that we are now focusing huge efforts to address, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. I’m delighted that our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results. This weight loss and glucose reduction is promising – we hope to help many more of those who are at risk of Type two diabetes to not get it in the first place.”