Journal Articles

Venous leg ulcers in the UK: the local burden of illness and the allocation of resources

Share this article

Venous leg ulcers in the UK: the local burden of illness and the allocation of resources

Alexandra Bishop, Richard White
23 April 2017

The precise UK prevalence of venous leg ulcers (VLU) is currently unclear. Prevalence data is essential in order to calculate the costs and, to measure the impact of any therapeutic intervention. A review of the literature was undertaken to assess the prevalence and costs of VLU in order to collate available data for baseline, or comparative purposes. Thereafter, information on compression bandaging products obtained from the QuintilesIMS database, prescribed for one large city was collected and calculations made to estimate known prevalence in that geographic locality. Results from the literature search showed the prevalence to vary from 0.1% to 1.1% in the studies identified. The prevalence of leg ulcers (LUs) in compression in the city reviewed was calculated to be 0.1% in 2015. There is a lack of reliable information on the prevalence and cost of LUs. The estimated prevalence reported is in keeping with those calculated by SIGN (2010) but less than those reported by Guest et al (2016). The annual cost of treating patients with LUs in the UK has recently been reported to be £1,938 million (Guest et al, 2016). Traditionally, regional clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local health authorities have not requested prevalence and outcome data on LUs and, therefore, there is a gap in understanding the extent of the problem. Consequently, the budgeting of services by CCGs is based more on estimates than on prevalence data. Without more accurate prevalence data it is impossible to truly understand the scale of the problem and develop a plan on how best to move forward with improving LU care.

Free for all healthcare professionals

Sign up to the Wounds Group journals

By clicking ‘Subscribe’, you are agreeing that the Wounds Group are able to email you periodic newsletters. You may unsubscribe from these at any time. Your info is safe with us and we will never sell or trade your details. For information please review our privacy policy.

Are you a healthcare professional? This website is for healthcare professionals only. To continue, please confirm that you are a healthcare professional below.

We use cookies responsibly to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your browser settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Read about how we use cookies.

I am not a healthcare professional.