Latvia has its one-legged lesbians, according to Mr Webcameron.
Bristol has its one-legged diabetics, according to the journal Diabetologia, or – rather – makes more of them than elsewhere in the country:
Amputation rates for diabetes patients are 10 times higher in some parts of England than in others, according to a study.
Researchers say the figures highlight the importance of ensuring the right specialist care.
The findings coincide with an NHS report putting the annual cost of diabetes-related amputations at £120m.
Amputation rates in some areas are too high, says the Department of Health.
The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, compared lower-leg amputation rates for local health trusts (PCTs) across England over three years.
In one way, it is not a surprise that there should be more Long John Silvers being madein Bristol, of all places, and I’m restraining myself from seeking a correlation with the parrot population.
It gets worse, though:
The paper concluded that, compared with the general population, people with diabetes were over 20 times more likely to have an amputation.
That’s the first number I’ve seen put on diabetic amputations compared to everyone else. The heart attack risk is perhaps 4x greater for diabetics. Ditto kidney problems. Ditto eye trouble or blindness, loss of feeling or obesity. Ditto many other things you could think of. We also, as reported, get help with legoff, especially in Bristol, and legover; if they need it, diabetics can get a quota of viagra on the NHS.
The last NICE estimate I saw was that people with Type I diabetes had a life expectancy reduced by 15 years.
So at least one benefit is that you get a better pension annuity, and also I get tickled by a nurse twice a year to check whether I have any diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) yet.
And by looking after the condition carefully, which is very difficult, particularly the need to maintain motivation for self-treatment which changes several times a day over decades, that can be much improved.
For once, I’m going to congratulate the media on reporting of this. I have yet to see one story about ‘unhealthy Bristol diabetics’ or ‘Bristol diabetic hospital scandal’. I don’t think the Daily Mail has covered it yet, though.
It’s not quite as simple as being a matter of geography and postcode lotteries, though; and that won’t be the case here.
The capital of meeting one-legged people outside a hospital used to be the area around the Royal London Hospital – not because services were bad, or because locals had bad diets and made their condition worse, but because that is where the specialists operated and patients were referred from elsewhere.
As ever, there’s a balance to be struck between big regional centres chopping off a lot of legs who do it well, and smaller centres which will be closer to home but less effective.
There’s a need to get the NHS away from MIMBYs (Must be in My Backyard) who want a small hospital close by, and to take a more strategic approach which – according to most research which I have seen – kills fewer people with difficult conditions.
And there’s a need to continue to invest in prevention, such as training diabetics to self-manage effectively which means that there will be a far smaller need for leg amputations in the first place. And a battle with those GPs who can make it more difficult for people with diabetes to look after themselves, by sometimes refusing supplies.
For a serious discussion of diabetic amputations, and why some changes are need to help, and to save the NHS money in the long term, try the Diabetes UK Putting Feet First web pages.
Now, can anyone explain why there has never been a character in the Asterix books called Diabetix, to go with Anticlimax the climate change skeptic and Fulliautomatix, who presumably does the washing?