Doctors call for bandage subsidy for wound treatment

AUSTRALIAN doctors and nurses in the wound care field are calling on the Federal Government to subsidise the cost of compression bandages and stockings, which could save up to $166 million annually.

A new national study highlighted by the Australian Wound Management Association on Monday, estimates that economic cost savings of $166 million a year could be generated if all eligible patients with venous leg ulcers were treated with compression bandages and stockings.

AWMA believes the high cost of the compression items is getting in the way of best medical practice and is calling on the Federal Government to consider a subsidy.

Patients could save up to $399 annually on compression items, the report found.

"These estimated savings would flow from the faster healing times associated with compression therapy," AWMA national president Dr Bill McGuiness said.

"Compression therapy is an essential component of VLU care, with most wounds healing within the benchmark time of 12 weeks, nearly twice as quickly as otherwise.

"This means less use of GPs, community care and hospitals, and a greatly reduced financial burden on the public health system."

Monday marks the start of Wound Awareness Week in Australia.KPMG, which produced the report, lead health economist Dr Henry Cutler said managing leg ulcers, which affects about 42,600 people over 60, was an equity issued that needed to be addressed urgently.

"The less well-off are paying the price for a health condition that causes pain and discomfort, greatly restricts their mobility and creates distress and social isolation," he said

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