Clinical negligence solicitors at Coles Miller are backing a new government report warning that thousands of patients may be facing limb amputations that are not needed.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Vascular Disease says too many patients are losing their limbs unnecessarily because they are not getting proper treatment.
Its report is based on 2009-2013 data obtained following freedom of information requests to health trusts and clinical commissioning groups.
Data reveals a postcode lottery: diabetes patients in the South West are twice as likely as those in London to undergo amputations.
The clinical commissioning group with the highest number of amputations per 1,000 adults with diabetes is Somerset with 4.7/1,000.
Other areas with high levels of amputations are Mansfield and Ashfield, Southend, Hull, Scarborough and Ryedale, Vale of York, South Devon and Torbay, South Warwickshire, Thanet and Kernow.
Numbers of lower limb amputations across England remain “stubbornly high” with 11,660 in 2012-2013; 11,702 in 2011-2012 and 11,358 in 2010-2011, according to the report.
Most of the amputations were for Peripheral Arterial Disease and Diabetic Foot Disease.
Coles Miller Clinical Negligence Partner David Simpson said: “The latest report bears out what we are seeing. It echoes some examples given to us by a consultant vascular surgeon.
“He advised us that he had concerns that some patients were not getting the appropriate referrals for specialist vascular treatment.
“They were being dealt with by orthopaedic consultants who did not have the necessary experience,” said Mr Simpson.
Coles Miller is helping a number of hospital patients who have suffered as a result of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
One client in her 50s agreed to £682,000 in damages after a GP’s failure to refer her for specialised vascular treatment resulted in her losing a leg.
Mr Simpson said: “Had a referral been made, the amputation would have been avoided. There was a full admission by the GP.”
Patients watchdog Healthwatch England has warned that the country’s NHS complaints system is far too complex.
There are at least 70 different regulators, inspectorates, courts and committees. Complaints may end up being passed between them.
Mr Simpson said: “There needs to be one system, one route through which you can complain.
“Lots of patients come to me because their complaint was not dealt with properly in the first place.
“If their complaint had been dealt with properly, they would have walked away. I hear it time and time again.
“It’s not about the money - it’s about the principle. They want to know what has happened to them and they want to stop it from happening to somebody else,” he added.
Solicitors from Coles Miller assist clients from all over the country with their claims for medical negligence or personal injury.
To find out more about how to claim compensation, contact Coles Miller Solicitors Partner David Simpson, 01202 338889.