The costs of long term complications of diabetes to both patients and the community are considerable. However, amputation of the lower limb is an example of a costly intervention that is often preventable in patients educated to take at least partial responsibility for the management of their condition. Aside from the obvious improvement in patients’ quality of life that preventive medicine of this kind entails, reductions in the amputation rate also lead to large cost savings.
Unfortunately, many patients are denied adequate education about their diabetes. This is partly due to lack of educational programmes for patients and partly the result of inadequate educational methodologies used by healthcare providers. Without major investments in patient education by healthcare policymakers and administrators, however, substantial improvements in the delivery of health education to the diabetic population are unlikely, and the opportunities for making important cost savings in this area will continue to be forgone.