Most wounds to lower limbs heal within a few weeks. Chronic lower limb wounds are those below the knee that are slow or fail to heal. Chronic lower limb wounds account for at least 42% of all wounds in the UK, with leg ulcers being the most common type (34% of the total wound population, compared to 7% pressure ulcers and 8% diabetic foot ulcers).
A large proportion of the total wound care spend is for these chronic lower limb wounds because of their slower healing rates. In 2019, there were an estimated 739,000 leg ulcers in England with estimated associated healthcare costs of £3.1 billion per annum year.
Based on evidence from the National Wound Care Strategy Programme, the prevalence of total leg ulcers is expected to increase by around 4% annually, to over 1 million by 2036 if there is no intervention. This is driven by an increase in leg ulcers that either recur after healing or those that do not heal.
How will we do it?
The three key elements of the programme are:
People: the delivery of training to all staff supporting patients with wounds
Processes: implementing a new evidence-based model based on the recommendations of the NWCSP
Technology & design: supporting data collection and provision of care through a new digital wound management system