Wound care consumables scheme kicks off … kinda

3 minute read

Good news: there’s movement in the wound consumables scheme. Bad news: it’s not on wound consumables.

The federal government has finally started moving the wheels on its promised chronic wound consumables scheme for people with diabetes, but it’ll be another year before patients can access it.

This week, Health Minister Mark Butler announced that $2 million in grant money would be going toward a national education campaign designed to drive up public awareness of chronic wounds run by Wounds Australia.

A further $1 million will be going to the Australian College of Nursing to fund 120 scholarships for advanced training courses in wound management, five scholarships for graduate certificates in wound care and one scholarship for a Masters of Wound Care.

The $3 million in grants are part of the $47.8 million set aside to fund a chronic wound consumables scheme in last year’s May budget.

There will be a longer wait for the actual consumables part of the chronic wound consumables scheme.

Under the scheme, which will be open to people with diabetes aged 65 or older and Indigenous Australians with diabetes aged 50 years or older, GPs will be able to order subsidised wound care products like bandages, adhesives and dressings to a patient’s home.

The patients then bring the items to their appointment.

In September last year, the Department of Health and Aged Care confirmed with The Medical Republic that this part of the scheme would not go live until mid-2025.

The two-year gap between announcement and implementation, according to the Department, was to allow “time for engagement with an expert advisory group to establish the range of products for subsidisation, the conduct of an approach to market for wound products, and the development and implementation of an online wound product ordering system by Services Australia”.

Until 2025, patients getting their chronic wound treated in primary care will continue to either buy their own consumables at retail prices or get billed out of pocket at their GP clinic, due to the ban on GPs raising additional charges when bulk billing.

Patients receiving outpatient wound treatment at a public clinic normally receive their dressings and other consumables for free.

Wounds Australia CEO Jeff Antcliff told TMR that the education campaign would be the “first step in shifting the needle” on chronic wound care.

“It’s going to include multimedia content … we’ll be providing printed material, online training and telephone support designed to give the consumer practical information on what they need to do understand their wound and understand where to get professional support from,” he said.

The campaign will be aimed at wound awareness more broadly, rather than the specific population that will be eligible for the consumables scheme.

“These new initiatives are part of the Government’s scheme to dramatically improve wound management to ensure that Australians can heal as quickly and well as possible,” Mr Butler said.

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