Page last updated:
8th June 2023

The cost of care

A recent research study estimated that 3.8 million people in the UK have a wound that needs to be managed by the NHS – that’s 7% of the adult population and a 71% increase from 2012/2013.

The total annual NHS cost of wound management is £8.3 billion – an increase of 48% in real terms from 2012/2013. That’s almost as much as the combined cost of managing osteo and rheumatoid arthritis conditions (£10.2 billion).

The cost of managing unhealed wounds is substantially greater than that of managing healed wounds. It costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year to manage healed wounds whereas the cost of managing unhealed wounds is £5.6 billion. That’s an average cost of £3,700 per person per year – 2.5 times the cost of managing a healed wound (£1,500).

Most of these wounds are cared for in the community and the most common type of wounds are wounds on the lower leg such as leg and foot ulcers. More than half the leg ulcers recorded in this study had no recorded diagnosis and so are unlikely to be receiving effective care.

NHS England has estimated that sub-optimal care of leg ulcers can cost up to ten times more than correctly managed care.

Imagine how much money we could save if we gave patients the right care.

Download Betty’s Story (1.2 MB)


All data taken from the Guest cohort study evaluating the burden of wounds to the UK’s National Health Service in 2017/2018: update from 2012/2013.

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