A NORTH-EAST MP has stepped in to support a campaign to reduce the number of preventable amputations among people with diabetes.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman is backing the Putting Feet First campaign by Diabetes UK.

A recent report from the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory (YHPHO) showed that between April 2009 and March 2012 there were 55 amputations carried out on people with diabetes in Darlington.

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As the majority of diabetes-related amputations are caused by a foot ulcer failing to heal, the charity is making sure people have access to thorough foot checks and examinations of the skin, circulation and nerve supply.

If any problems are found, patients will have access to a multi-disciplinary foot care team within 24 hours.

Mrs Chapman said: “There are many areas of diabetes that need to change for the better – both in terms of awareness and quality of care.

“Getting the right foot checks is an obvious solution to the problem of amputation rates, and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be happening for people with diabetes in this area.”

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves which carry pain sensation from the feet to the brain, which results in numbness. This means that cuts, bruises or infections can go unnoticed, and if infections are not treated they can spread.

Arteries to the feet can also narrow, reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients essential to keep skin nourished and to heal cuts, resulting in potentially deadly ulcers.

More information about the Diabetes UK Putting Feet First campaign can be found at diabetes.org.uk/putting-feet-first