Leading Diabetes Organisations Join Forces to End Avoidable Amputations in a Generation

19 June 2018

Diabetic foot disease (DFD) is globally recognised as the leading cause of all lower-limb amputations, and in Australia alone, it results in 4,400 amputations, 27,600 hospitalisations and nearly 1,700 deaths each year.

The Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre Wound CRC), Wound Innovations and the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS), today announced that Diabetic Foot Australia (DFA) will be transferred to the ADS with a mission to stamp out diabetic foot disease within a generation.

Wound CRC CEO, and incoming CEO of Wound Innovations, Dr Ian Griffiths, said,

“The Wound CRC originally invested in diabetic foot research and advocacy through DFA to bring to light the true costs and prevalence of this hidden epidemic in Australia," Dr Griffiths added.

“Through our combined research, we know that diabetic foot disease is the leading cause of all amputations and a top 20 cause of all hospitalisations in this country.

“Annually, this disease drains over $1.6 billion from the health system.

“The good news however, is that from our health economics studies, $2.7billion over 5 years can be saved to the Australian taxpayer, along with countless limbs and lives, simply through implementing evidence-based diabetic foot care across Australia.

“With the completion of the CRC, I am delighted to transfer DFA to the ADS, which is ideally placed to deliver practical long-term strategies to ensure these shocking statistics are significantly reduced within a generation.”

Dr Susan Pond AM FTSE, Chair of the Wound CRC, commented on the importance of the legacy organisation.

“Diabetic Foot Australia is a powerful legacy organisation and will no doubt flourish within a leading Diabetes organisation," Dr Pond said.

"The ongoing collaboration with Wound Innovations is unique, and we are confident that Diabetic Foot Australia assets and research will be used by the current and future generations of high-risk foot wound specialists, diabetes specialists, carers and patients throughout Australia.”

DFA was launched in 2015 as a key activity of the Wound CRC with the goal of making Australia a leader in the fight against diabetic foot disease and ending avoidable diabetes-related amputations within a generation. In just three short years, DFA’s highly motivated team have produced a vast amount of national policy documents, educational events, campaigns, research, journal articles, and other resources including the largest network of diabetic foot disease professionals ever assembled in the southern hemisphere at the 2017 DFA conference. This culminated recently with the launch of the first-ever Australian diabetes-related foot disease strategy 2018-2022: The first step towards ending avoidable amputations within a generation.

DFA Co-Chair, Dr Peter Lazzarini, said, “The Australian diabetic foot community of thousands of clinicians, researchers and patients will be eternally indebted to the vision and investment provided by the Wound CRC in establishing Diabetic Foot Australia.”

“We are proud to say that Australia no longer has the dubious honour of having the second worst diabetes-related amputation rates in the developed world and instead, now has rates comparable with other leading OECD nations in this field,” Dr Lazzarini added.

“We are incredibly excited to be moving to ADS to continue our journey to end avoidable amputations in a generation.”

The ADS is the peak diabetes medical and scientific body in Australia and its values and objectives align closely to those of DFA, which include reducing the impact of diabetes and related complications (including foot disease) through prevention, early diagnosis and evidence-based care.

ADS CEO, Dr Sof Andrikopoulos, said, “The well-established research and clinical reputation of ADS, together with DFA’s large and engaged national diabetic foot community, will drive further collaborations, research, and most importantly, advocacy and advancements for patients.

“I look forward to joining forces with DFA and Wound Innovations to build on the valuable work already done by the team and to achieve life-changing goals under the Australian Diabetes-related Foot Disease Strategy.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but if we can end diabetes-related foot amputations within a generation, we will improve the lives of people living with diabetes,” said Dr Andrikopoulos.