Eighty percent of amputations that occur as a result of diabetes are ‘avoidable’ in counties in the south west of England, according to Diabetes UK.

While 1,562 amputations were carried out on diabetic patients across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset in the last three years, Diabetes UK claims that 80% of procedures could have been avoided if more care was available to prevent complications.

Between 2010 and 2013, the national rate of major amputations was 0.9 per 1,000 diabetics compared with a rate in south west England which peaked at 1.5 in some areas.

If blood glucose levels become dangerously high or low, diabetics can be at risk of suffering serious complications including strokes, blindness and amputation. It is vital that diabetes is properly managed by patients and medical staff to help avoid any health complications.

Dr Gary Lenden of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commission Group said that they are ‘acutely aware’ of the rate of diabetic amputations in the area, and highlighted the need to improve education for care teams and patients.

Madeleine Pinschof, a senior clinical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office said: “To hear that as many as 80% of diabetic amputations carried out in south west counties over the past three years were preventable is highly concerning.

“Diabetes affects millions of people across the UK, yet complications still occur in an unacceptably high proportion of patients.

“Educating patients and medical staff is key to preventing avoidable and serious complications, and the government needs to step up and ensure that attention is provided to this area of care as a matter of priority.”