More than 420,000 people in Australia develop a chronic wound each year with some patients needing to spend thousands in out of pocket costs for dressings and wound products.
The peak body for wound prevention and management, Wounds Australia, has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to reduce out of pocket costs for chronic wound patients.
Wounds Australia chairwoman Hayley Ryan said the high costs of treatments and dressings was leading directly to a massive health crisis.
While chronic wounds can affect anyone at any time, most patients are over 65 years old with the average out of pocket costs about $340 per month, or nearly $4000 each year, which people living on a pension struggle to afford.
"This expense can lead to many pensioners or retirees missing appropriate care," said Ms Ryan.
"As a result, their health worsens and social anxiety increases. It produces a vicious cycle.
"That's why Wounds Australia has used its expertise to build an 11-Point Plan to overcome the problems caused by chronic wounds."
The Wounds Australia 11-Point Plan calls for changes to how the government structures spending and manages out of pocket costs.
"This will ultimately save hundreds of millions of dollars for the nation's health and aged care budgets," said Ms Ryan.
"Central to our Plan are the allocation of a dedicated MBS item to wound care, and the subsidising of wound products for people at risk of venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and over 65s.
"Wounds Australia will be meeting with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and state Health Ministers to outline our Plan and demonstrate how a cooperative relationship will slash costs and patient numbers.
"Chronic wounds are Australia's hidden epidemic," Ms Ryan said.
"Over 420,000 people develop a chronic wound each year. The cost to governments is at least $3 billion annually. The loss in economic activity is untold millions annually."