the effect of wounds on the Australian healthcare system


Effects of wounds on Australia's healthcare system

Chronic wounds have a significant impact on the economy and health of Australians. Approximately 450,000 Australians are currently living with chronic wounds, costing the healthcare system around $3 billion annually.

Wounds are categorized as acute or chronic, with acute wounds showing signs of healing within four weeks, while chronic wounds fail to progress through normal healing phases in the same timeframe. Chronic wounds, including pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers, and artery insufficiency ulcers, can take months or even years to heal, with some never fully healing.

Current estimates suggest chronic wounds account for approximately 3% of national healthcare expenditure, but this is likely an underestimate due to underreporting and lack of accurate data. Individuals age 60 years plus are most likely to experience a chronic wound with associated adverse health outcomes due to comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or obesity.

The National Preventative Health Strategy 2021-2030 outlines national goals to assist in the reduction of annual healthcare expenditure for wound care. These goals are reimbursing the cost of consumables, Stepped model of care (comprised of a hierarchy of interventions), MBS items for wound care assessments and treatment, education and training, coordination of wound care initiatives, and evidence-based wound care in other healthcare settings such as hospitals, aged care, and primary healthcare.

New developments in wound care have increased the amount of understanding and availability of high-quality dressings, revolutionising the way healthcare professionals approach wound management and significantly improving patient outcomes


Australian Medical Association, 2022, ‘Solutions to the chronic wound problem in Australia’,