Letters

“Australia’s forgotten disability”

Ed,

We write to you on behalf of Limbs 4 Life – the key not-for-profit giving vital and much needed support to amputees across Australia.

Our new and latest report reveals clearly that amputation has become “Australia’s forgotten disability”.

Every three hours somebody in Australia loses a lower limb because of the growing rate of diabetes.  Our report reveals by 2050, there will be over 300,000 amputees in Australia.  This is enough people to fill most of a city the size of Canberra.

The report, prepared by KPMG, highlights that by 2050 the number of amputees in Australia will have – in essence – doubled.  Males make up 72% of all amputations.  The report reveals the actual costs to Australia’s health system of amputation will sky-rocket from the current figure of $350 million to a massive $7.8 billion in 2050.

We believe Federal and State Governments have their heads in the sand when it comes to this issue.

Many people who experience amputation have to deal with depression and anxiety.  In some cases, they are also dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We are working hard to raise the profile of this issue because it is just not being talked about enough.  It is time to fund more resources and information for carers of amputees.  It is time to fund a desperately needed campaign to develop men’s health awareness.  We need an education campaign for our Indigenous community (which is deeply affected by the issue).  We need an amputation registry.

What is alarming is that Type 2 Diabetes now accounts for 43% of lower limb amputations.  It is also shameful that 8.9% of the total amputees in Australia are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  That’s close to 1 in 10.

What is very clear is that unless government investment and measures are actually put in place, the issues are simply going to get bigger.

We want people impacted by amputation to reach out and get more help. 

Readers can visit www.limbs4life.org.au for more information.

Melissa Noonan, AM

CEO – Limbs 4 Life

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