Health bosses are working with a charity to investigate why part of Sussex has one of the highest rates of diabetes-related amputations in the country.
Diabetes UK contacted the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) after becoming concerned about the figures.
Information shows there were 106 amputations over the last three years – giving a rate of 4.2 per 1,000 of the diabetic population.
This is significantly higher than the national average of 2.6.
Unacceptable The charity’s analysis shows just 22.2% of diabetics with foot problems admitted to hospital are seen by a specialist within 24 hours and 86.4% did not have their feet checked during their stay.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has identified both of these checks as important for preventing amputations in people with diabetes.
Diabetes UK regional manager Jill Steaton said: “It is deeply concerning that the diabetes-related amputation rate in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford is so high.
“Diabetes-related foot problems can deteriorate in a matter of hours, so not seeing a specialist team quickly can literally be the difference between keeping your foot and losing it.
“It is unacceptable that barely a fifth of people with diabetes who develop foot problems are referred to a specialist team within 24 hours.
“Diabetes UK needs to see strong action to improve the situation in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford, and we will be monitoring the situation.”
Diabetics are more than 20 times more likely to have an amputation than the rest of the population.
CCG chairman Martin Writer said: “It is common for sufferers of diabetes to experience foot problems, especially in older people, and we are grateful to Diabetes UK for its analysis.
“We will be looking at individual cases and assessing a range of factors including our population profile, how patients are referred for treatment and the range and level of services available for people with foot problems caused by diabetes.”
Coastal West Sussex CCG, which covers Chichester, Arun, Worthing and Adur districts, has a rate of 3 per 1,000, while both Brighton and Hove and Crawley are at 2.9.
Hastings and Rother is 2.7, while High Weald, Lewes and Havens has a rate |of 2.5.
Horsham and Mid Sussex has the |lowest rate at 1.8.