About ten Scots a week have a body part amputated as the country battles a diabetes and obesity crisis, it has emerged.
More than 2,500 patients were forced to have legs, toes, fingers and arms removed on the NHS since 2014, official figures obtained by the Tories have revealed.
It comes amid repeated warnings of a worsening obesity crisis, with more patients being treated for diabetes as a consequence.
The figures obtained through Freedom of Information show there were 661 patients in 2016, and a further 579 last year. There were 350 amputations in the first nine months of this year, though this is expected to be higher given not all health boards have processed all data yet.
Tory health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “It’s now well-established that obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing our NHS.
“Of course, there are a number of reasons people can develop diabetes, but it’s also accepted that rising obesity levels will increase the rates of the illness.
“The fact hundreds of people each year are having to go through the trauma of limb amputation shows just how serious a problem this is.”
Scotland’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, recorded 754 amputations in the last five years. That includes 370 toes and 354 legs. NHS Grampian carried out the second most procedures with 463 since 2014.
Across the UK, the number of diabetics is projected to increase by one million by 2035, while charities have repeatedly called for action to tackle childhood obesity in the hope it reduces the risk of developing the illness further down the line.
“We need to see all agencies working together to ensure the vital health education messages are getting through, especially to children, and that personal responsibility is brought front and centre,”
“If this doesn’t happen, our NHS is going to struggle even more severely in future, and lives will be badly limited in the process.”
Experts recently warned that child obesity in Scotland could be worse than expected as researchers said many young people who appear healthy have “high body fat content”.
In 2017, 69 per cent of Scots women were classed to have an increased health risk based on their body mass index (BMI) and waist size. For men the figure was 58 per cent. More than half of women (57 per cent) were categorised as high risk or above, while for men it was 42 per cent.