Foot disease costing $350m

EARLY prevention of diabetes-related foot disease could be the solution to a problem costing the nation $350 million a year, a study says.

A Queensland University of Technology study published on Tuesday examined hospitalisation rates among thousands of Queenslanders, finding one in 22 patients in hospital had diabetic foot disease.

Those findings would suggest some 27,600 people nationwide were being hospitalised each year.

QUT senior research fellow Peter Lazzarini said that amounted to an annual direct cost of $350 million to Australia for hospitalisation alone.

"This figure is much higher than we previously thought and is still very much a conservative estimate, because this cost only relates to patients admitted because of their diabetic foot disease in public hospitals," he said.

Mr Lazzarini said diabetic foot disease also led to wider costs to the health system, with 4400 amputations and almost 1700 deaths in Australia a year.

But he said if the disease was diagnosed and treated early, it was "readily preventable".

Mr Lazzarini urged all patients admitted to hospital with diabetes be screened for the disease, and more "multi-disciplinary teams" be set up to care for patients in and outside of hospital.