Government urged to tackle shocking North-South divide in limb amputations

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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The Government is being urged to take action to tackle the shocking North-South divide over limb amputations.

Emma Hardy, MP for West Hull and Hessle, new Shadow Minister for Further Education & Higher Education, is raising the issue in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Northerners are 30 per cent more likely to have their limb amputated than southerners, statistics suggest.

In London the major amputation rate is 11 per cent below the national average, but 21 per cent above in the North West.

Vascular-related disease is the leading cause of death and limb loss in the UK. Fatty deposits build up in arteries and interrupt the flow of blood around the body causing heart attacks, strokes and dementia - as well as being the cause for many amputations on legs and feet.

Ms Hardy cited the situation in Hull where there has recently been a 22 per cent increase in major amputations procedures - mainly below-knee- or above-knee - along with a 26 per cent increase in minor amputations.

Patients in Hull with an ulcer were 75 per cent more likely to have a major amputation than the England average.

She is calling for more investment in services locally along with academic vascular surgeon Dan Carradice, who wants a new unit built at Castle Hill Hospital in nearby Cottingham to cope with the rise in demand.

Mr Carradice said the rapidly increasing volume and complexity of patients with vascular disease - linked to an aging population, and the epidemics of diabetes and obesity - had outstripped limited resources.

He said: "Investment in vascular services has not been able to keep pace with this silent, growing crisis and I fear that patient outcomes will continue to deteriorate despite the tremendous efforts made by all my colleagues.

"There is an urgent need for the Government to review and increase their commitment and investment in vascular services nationally with hopes of addressing regional disparities in investment and health outcomes.”

Mr Carradice said there was a lack of room to expand at Hull Royal Infirmary.

He said: "A purpose-built Vascular Unit at the Castle Hill Hospital would allow the vascular service to grow and meet the needs of the people of Hull.

"Such a development would open the doors to address many other shortfalls, including workforce deficits and availability of specialised, live-saving equipment.

"More details on this proposal, including costings for this development will be available in the coming weeks.”