Diabetics are having legs and toes amputated because of an "appalling" lack of services, an organisation representing health workers says.

Podiatry NZ is calling for action after a Herald investigation found services in some areas buckling under a growing number of diabetics, with years-long delays and Kiwis in their 30s losing legs.

Diabetes now causes close to 1000 amputations a year, despite research showing most are preventable through early and fast access to preventative services such as podiatry care.

Jennifer Pelvin, chief executive of Podiatry NZ, the profession's membership organisation, said there were about 16 podiatrists working in hospitals and