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Wound Awareness Campaign

Wound Awareness Week 2015

Date: 16 – 21 October 2020

Wound Awareness Week 2015

Got a wound that won’t go? Get a Wound Expert

If a wound is hard-to-heal (chronic or ulcer), health professionals and services with advanced wound management skills are available.

The Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA) estimates that approximately 400,000 Australians currently live with a hard-to-heal (chronic or ulcer) wound. A hard-to-heal wound can bring considerable costs related to wound dressings, visits to health professionals and other treatments. Additionally, a hard-to-heal wound can cause, pain, anxiety, frustration and isolation.

Not all health professionals have specialist training in managing hard-to-heal wounds. However, there are specialist clinics and health professionals throughout Australia who are skilled in treating people living with hard-to-heal wounds.

Wound healing is complex and influenced by many factors. But, in some cases, such as for venous leg ulcers, there are known treatments that can greatly assist with healing.

So, if you, or someone you know has a hard-to-heal wound – Get an expert!

Australia Western Australia Northern Territory South Australia Queensland New South Wales Victoria Tasmania Australian Capital Territory

Click on your state or territory for more information

Wound Awareness Week 2014

WAW 2014

Wound Awareness Week 2013

Latrobe University Podcast Interview – Bill McGuiness

The 318th La Trobe University podcast interview is with Bill McGuiness, head of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University.



Leg Club celebrates first birthday

Article from the ‘Eastern Shore Sun’ 13 Nov 2020

Click here

Media Release – 16 August 2020

AWMA supports COTA’s A New Deal for Older Australians

The Australian Wound Management Association has given its strong support to the Federal Election platform A New Deal for Older Australians released by the older Australians lobby group COTA on 13 August 2020.

The COTA platform can be viewed at www.cota.org.au/australia/Achieving/fep.aspx

It was developed after more than 620 people across Australia took part in an Election Panel survey to help COTA Australia shape what it seeks from all political parties at the Federal election.

“The COTA survey identified ‘access to quality health services’ as the most important issue affecting older Australians, with 72 per cent of respondents putting it in their top five issues,” AWMA national president Dr Bill McGuiness said.

“For some time we have been highlighting the prevalence of lower leg ulcers in the older population, along with the difficulty so many patients have in affording the compression bandages and stockings needed to manage this chronic condition.

“This is a major equity issue for our patients, and a source of great frustration for our members who provide the clinical care. People who can’t afford best-practice care are often missing out, meaning their leg ulcers take much longer than necessary to heal.

“Access to venous leg ulcer management is one of a number of areas where older people have difficulty in accessing quality health services.

“Highlighting such shortcomings is of crucial importance, and we congratulate COTA for their thorough and well-targeted campaign to gain the attention and support of our political leaders.”

Since the release of a major report, “An Economic Evaluation of Compression Therapy for Venous leg Ulcers”, commissioned from the KPMG consultancy, AWMA has been advising government to consider introducing a subsidy scheme to improve access to compression therapy.

Without it, wounds take much longer to heal, causing patients considerable discomfort, the need for frequent medical appointments, much personal embarrassment and social isolation. All of these factors have a disproportionate impact on the elderly, many of whom are pensioners of limited means.

MEDIA RELEASE – 5 August 2020

Wound care pioneer’s visit a boon for patients

The forthcoming Australian visit by the pioneer of the UK’s highly successful “Leg Club” model (www.legclub.org/ellie_lindsay.shtml) for managing venous leg ulcers (VLU, lower leg wounds) holds great benefits for the 43,000 Australians experiencing this condition, as well as the clinicians dedicated to their care.

Leg Club founder Ellie Lindsay will be the keynote speaker at the Leg Club in Review seminar, hosted by the Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA) Tasmania and Eastern Shore Community Nursing, Hobart on 23 October 2020.

A similar leg club model is already operating at Eastern Shore Community Nursing, with impressive results.

In Sydney she will deliver two addresses at the 2013 Wound Conference at Sydney Adventist Hospital on 25 October 2020 (http://www.sah.org.au/conferences)

Welcoming these speaking engagements, AWMA national president Dr Bill McGuiness said, “Ellie Lindsay is known internationally as a champion in the field of venous leg ulcer healing. Her Leg Club model has been a huge success in the UK, proving the immense value of patient and community involvement in managing this challenging condition.”

AWMA is the peak body for nurses, doctors and allied health professionals working in the field of wound care. For some time it has been urging the Federal Government to introduce subsidies for compression therapy items (bandages and hosiery) that greatly improve healing times. These are costly and at present must be self-funded in many jurisdictions.

“Compression therapy is proven best-practice for managing venous leg ulcers and it deserves more government support,” Dr McGuiness said.

“For that reason we have welcomed the $0.3M allocation in the 2012-13 Budget for a scoping study on wound management amongst senior Australians, the most at-risk group.

“There may also be a good case for supporting a model such as the Lindsay Leg Clubs where clinicians work in partnership with patients and the community, providing a high standard of care in a social environment. This model is effective clinically and psychosocially, and could potentially save governments a lot of money through less GP and hospital care.

“While a few such clubs are already operating in Australia, Ellie Lindsay’s visit could be a real boost for their expansion,” Dr McGuiness said.

AWMA media contact: Robin Osborne 0409 984 488  E: [email protected]

Health Speak – Issue 4 Winter 2013

Wound Management:
Compression therapy is not a crepe bandage pulled tight

By Jan Rice

View the article: Click here (Page 32)

Senate Petition

AWMA representative Ann Marie Dunk presenting the Senate petition on the need for subsidising compression therapy items to Senator Dean Smith in Canberra on 13 May 2020.

MEDIA RELEASE – Monday 13 May 2020

Parliament asked to support best-practice wound care

Helping Australians battling chronic wounds is the focus of a Senate petition seeking government subsidies for best-practice compression dressings and bandages that the mostly-elderly patients need but are seldom able to afford.

The national petition of 1160 signatures was supported by patients, family members and carers, and the clinicians who help manage wounds. It was presented today to Senator Dean Smith (Liberal, WA), a member of the Senate Committee on Community Affairs, by Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA) committee representative, Ann Marie Dunk.

The petition, expected to be tabled in the Senate tomorrow, notes that with prompt best-practice care most wounds, including difficult venous leg ulcers, can be healed within 12 weeks.The petition seeks Senate support for full subsidisation of best-practice wound management, a case that AWMA has been putting to Budget planners for several months.

Without the early use of dressings, and compression bandages and stockings, healing is delayed, causing avoidable pain and suffering, and creating unnecessary pressure on public hospitals and other health services.

“Instead of saving money, this false economy produces losses all around – for the patient, for the health system and for the taxpayers who fund public hospitals and other acute services,” the petition noted.

AWMA is the peak body for nurses, doctors and allied health professionals working in the field of wound care. It estimates that as many as 300,000 Australians currently experience chronic wounds requiring management, with around 42,600 people aged over 60 years having at least one venous leg ulcer at any time.

“At present, the barrier to best-practice use of compression items is their high cost, which most Australian patients must pay for personally”, said AWMA national president Dr Bill McGuiness.

Liberal Senator for Western Australia, Dean Smith, said he was pleased to call attention to the issues raised by AWMA’s petition: “All too often, issues such as this get lost in the middle of day-to-day political debate. However, my discussions with representatives of AWMA made a lasting impression, and I will certainly be talking with my parliamentary colleagues about the need for us to do more in this area.”

The recent KPMG health economics report, An Economic Evaluation of Compression Therapy for Venous Leg Ulcers, estimated that wider access to appropriate compression therapy could deliver an average $6,328 in health care savings per patient.

The KPMG report is available for download here

Media contact: Robin Osborne – 0409 984 488 E: [email protected]

May 2013 – AWMA Wound Management Tips

Trifold Brochure

Budget 2013-14 funds major wound study

Bill McGuinnes at EWMA 2013AWMA National President Dr Bill McGuiness heard about the Government’s budgetary allocation for chronic wound management while attending the European Wound Management Association conference in Copenhagen in mid-May.

The Australian Wound Management Association welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to provide $0.3M to fund a scoping study and cost benefit analysis of options to better address chronic wound management for Senior Australians.

The funding was announced in the Federal Budget 2013-14, handed down on 14 May, and forms part of the ‘Supporting Senior Australians’ package.

“AWMA is delighted that the Government has recognised the need to improve chronic wound management for Senior Australians,” National President, Dr Bill McGuiness, said. “We feel confident that the scoping study and related analysis will further confirm the clinical and economic benefits of a wider access to best-practice care. It is highly likely that a key part of the recommended regime will be subsidies for compression therapy items such as bandages and stockings for patients with venous leg ulcers.

“The need for subsidisation has been a key factor in our discussions with Government over the past year, and we look forward to assisting the coordinators of this study in any way they feel appropriate.”

Dr McGuiness called the scoping study a “very positive stepping stone on the path to ensuring best-practice management for every Australian experiencing a chronic wound.”



Wound Awareness WeekWound Awareness Week 2013
18 –22 March
Get ready to get involved!

Around 300,000 Australians, mostly elderly and on pensions, suffer lower leg ulcers requiring regular care. These wounds are not for life – they should heal within 12 weeks when managed with compression bandaging. However, government subsidies are seldom available for this best-practice care. This means many people are out of pocket, or miss out on treatment they cannot afford. The Australian Wound Management Association is working with its 3,000 nurses, doctors and allied health members to bring about equity of care and improve quality of life.

Email: [email protected]

Promotional Pack for Health Professionals click here

MEDIA RELEASE 18 March 2020

KPMG reportBetter access to compression therapy could save $166M p.a.

The fifth annual Wound Awareness Week (18-22 March 2020) begins with a new report showing millions of health budget dollars and immense personal suffering would be saved through better access to compression therapy for leg ulcer patients.

Click here for the full media release and to download the report

Sunshine Coast Daily – 19/3/2020 – 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

Northen Star article

18/3/2020 – Read the
Northern Star article


Read the Queensland Times article

ABC radio discussion of Compression therapy featuring Dr Sue Page


Compressions Newsletter

Download Issue 1 – March 2013


Planned Wound
Awareness Events

Download here


MEDIA RELEASE – 15 January 2020

Australia’s fifth national Wound Awareness Week will highlight how the delivery of wound management can be significantly improved for patients, carers and family members, wound management clinicians, and the national health budget.

The not-so-secret answer is Compression Therapy – specialised compression stockings, and bandages used in conjunction with appropriate dressings – which reduces average healing time for venous leg ulcer patients to 20 weeks. This is nearly half the average healing time of 36 weeks for those treated using other means.

The Australia Wound Management Association is helping to coordinate events in collaboration with each State and Territory wound management Association to encourage practitioners and their patients to talk openly about the “elephant in the room” – wound management – and in particular venous leg ulcers.

Why isn’t it often mentioned? Because too many people assume that getting leg ulcers is just a ‘fact of life’, especially as they get older.

Fact: This isn’t true – leg wounds such as venous leg ulcers can indeed be successfully healed – with the right management.

Our goal is to raise public awareness that wounds can be uncomfortable, long-lasting (if not treated properly), socially isolating and they can happen to anyone.

At present, some 300,000 Australians, most of them elderly, have lower leg wounds. This means that almost everyone is likely to know somebody with a lower leg wound.

Getting the best care is essential for the healing process, and this means proper access to compression therapy. Yet many patients cannot afford it. Encouraging government to properly subsidise best-practice wound care such as compression therapy is a major focus of AWMA’s 2013 lobbying campaign, and a key aspect of Wound Awareness Week.

FACT: Leg Ulcers aren’t for life and most of them can be healed fairly quickly with the correct management

AWMA has a series of posters available for download from this site or in hard copy by email request. Please contact your local AWMA State or Territory Association to find out more about Wound Awareness Week and events near you.

Parliament House MEDIA RELEASE – 3 December 2020

Government subsidy for Compression Therapy a ‘no brainer’

Dr Bill McGuiness, AWMA President, and Ann Marie Dunk, AWMA (ACT) President and Committee Member of AWMA, are pictured at Parliament House, Canberra on 19 November 2020.

The AWMA representatives spent a busy day meeting with members of the Australian Senate’s Standing Committee on Community Affairs, which focuses on the portfolio areas of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Health and Ageing, and Human Services.

Approval was given by the AWMA Committee to target the Members during Senate Sittings in November 2012. The visit focused on raising awareness of the costs associated with managing venous leg ulcers, emphasising the need for subsidy arrangements for products used to treat these wounds. The MPs were also made aware of the current work being undertaken by consultancy firm KPMG on behalf of AWMA and the web based petition to the Senate.

Senators from across the political spectrum agreed that AWMA’s case for appropriate government subsidisation was a strong one that offered substantial benefits for both patients and the budgetary bottom-line.

As one Senator put it, “In my view it’s a no-brainer, and I’ll be supporting you in any way I can.”

Feedback of this kind was typical, regardless of party affiliation.

It’s no secret that the next Federal Budget will be a tight one, but the support AWMA is receiving is mounting fast, and we will continue this campaign on behalf of our 3000 members and 300,000 patients until a successful outcome is achieved.

View the article in the summer 2012 issue of Health Speak (p.20)

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 November 2020

Plain packaged cigarettes will help save legs

People at risk of debilitating lower leg ulcers will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s tobacco plain packaging laws that come into effect from 1 December, according to the Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA), the peak body for 3,000 nurses, doctors and allied health professionals in this field.

Welcoming the decision to remove some of the glamour from cigarette smoking, AWMA’s Medical Representative, Dr Stephen Yelland, said tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and serious illness in Australia and closely linked with circulatory problems that contribute to lower leg problems.

“Establishing a patient’s smoking history is a crucial part of every consultation relating to the treatment of lower leg ulcers. Patients experiencing this painful and intransigent condition tend to be elderly people with a range of health issues, some related to being former smokers.

“In addition, there is a connection with smoking among many younger sufferers. Tobacco smoke, which includes a range of toxic chemicals, impedes blood circulation in the body and makes it very hard for wounds such as venous leg ulcers to heal naturally.”

According to Dr Yelland, a Gold Coast GP with expertise in leg wound management, “At any time around 300,000 Australians suffer leg wounds requiring medical and nursing care. Wound care is one of the most frequently performed GP procedures and accounts for up to 80 per cent of community nursing treatments. “

Yet the impact of smoking is entirely avoidable and the Government’s efforts to reduce tobacco consumption are to be welcomed. Of course this battle can’t be just government-led, but requires the full support of the community.

“It is gratifying to see that smoking rates have generally been dropping in recent times, but they remain dangerously high in certain segments of the population.

“The more you smoke, the harder it becomes to quit and the greater the long-term risk to your health. Believe me, there is nothing glamorous about having weeping leg ulcers, whatever your age, so anything that could help reduce the desirability and acceptability of smoking deserves to be encouraged.”

Download media release

ACT Health Directorate Bulletin Director-General’s Bulletin –
Friday 5 October 2020 – Issue 311

Research Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Practice Achievement

The Research Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Practice (RCNMP) an accredited centre with the International Council of Nursing Practice ® has received notification that it has approved the use of the terminology pressure injury as a synonym for pressure ulcer. This change of terminology will assist with the harmonisation of nursing language. It will also more accurately reflect the cause and effect of pressure as well as highlight the preventive nature of most pressure injuries.

The acceptance of the terminology pressure injury by the ICN is due to the ACT Health Directorate first adopting this terminology from 2004 from research undertaken by the RCNMP; and secondly because of the Australian Wound Management Association in 2012 with the collaboration of New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong who launched the Pan Pacific Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injury which further supported the terminology. The term pressure injury has also been accepted as terminology by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and The Health Roundtable. The International Council of Nursing (ICN), a federation of 136 national nurses associations representing millions of nurses worldwide, is the recognised international nursing organisation. ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies globally. The harmonisation of nursing language ensures that globally, nurses use the same nursing terminology.

AWMA Media Reps

Audio 6 minutes (mp3)
Click on the link and meet the AWMA media representatives Carol Baines & Annie Hunt. Annie briefly explains how to promote patient stories with your clients.

Wounds and Politicians

A briefing paper
This document is to provide anyone with an interest in approaching politicians regarding wound care with a list of key talking points and a guide as to how best approach the meeting.

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