Key non-profit launches national amputation report


Key non-profit launches national amputation report

Dramatic new report for key not-for-profit reveals the number of amputees in Australia by 2050 will have – in essence – doubled. The report (prepared by KPMG) reveals the hidden costs linked to amputees will climb dramatically from $1.7 billion (the current cost) to a massive $32.9 billion by 2049/50.

By 2050, the report highlights there will be over 300,000 amputees in Australia. This is enough people to fill most of a city the size of Canberra.

Limbs 4 Life’s Melissa Noonan (an amputee herself) – who ordered the report – says amputation is “Australia’s forgotten disability”. She says the report’s estimated costs of the disability are actually “very conservative”.

The report reveals every 3 hours someone in Australia loses a lower limb due to the huge growing issue of diabetes. It also reveals Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now experience amputation at twice the rate of other people (8.9% of Australia’s total amputees are now Indigenous).

An alarming new report - prepared by KPMG for the key not-for-profit Limbs 4 Life - reveals by 2050, the number of amputees in Australia will have (in essence) doubled and the hidden costs relating to amputation – which currently sit at $1.7 billion – will blow out to a massive $32.9 billion by 2049/50.

The number of amputees, according to the report, will move from 160,000 currently to 305,000 by 2049/50 … enough people to fill most of a major city such as Hobart or Canberra.

CEO of Limbs 4 Life, Melissa Noonan (an amputee herself), says the burden of amputation is one of the least known and under-appreciated health problems in Australia. She says costs are going to escalate significantly.

Melissa Noonan points out, at the current time, every 3 hours somebody in Australia loses a lower limb to the huge and growing issue of diabetes. She says amputees now account for the largest physical disability cohort in Australia.

She warns Australia is highly likely to remain as the country with the second highest risk of chronic illness related amputations amongst OECD nations. She says males are massively over-represented in the new report … making up 72% of all amputations.

Melissa Noonan highlights this new report is Australia’s very first evidence-based study on amputation. Limbs 4 Life says the report’s estimated costs of amputation are considered to be “very conservative”.

The report reveals the costs in Australia’s health system of amputation will move from the current figures of $350 million to a huge $7.8 billion in 2050. Between 2009/10 and 2018/19, the annual average growth in the number of amputations actually exceeded Australia’s overall population growth.

CEO of Limbs 4 Life, Melissa Noonan says it is absolutely critical the Federal Government takes urgent action to help people affected by what is clearly Australia’s “forgotten disability”. Melissa Noonan warns Federal and State Governments well and truly “have their heads in the sand” on the issue.

Melissa said, “Depression and anxiety are the most common psychological reactions that amputees experience. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another. People can experience decreased self-esteem, distorted body image, increased dependency on others, significant levels of isolation and a sense of grief.”

Melissa Noonan said, “At a national level, the number of people personally affected by amputation literally runs into the many millions. It affects family and friends, community members who offer unpaid care.”

“The largest major contributor to costs is productivity-related costs, which accounts for $993.3 million (almost a billion). This cost is driven by fewer working hours, inability to work, time off for work for surgery and rehabilitation, and carers needing to leave employment or work fewer hours to look after their loved one.”

If you would like a copy of the full report please contact our Research and Evaluation Sub Committee at