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Why Prescription LimbOs Matter

Our LimbO foot model is the latest LimbO to be added to the NHS Drug Tariff. This is welcome news for patients with chronic foot wounds, including those suffering with diabetic foot ulcers who need to keep their foot dressings dry in the shower. It also helps shine a light on the wider benefits to the NHS of having LimbO waterproof protectors available on prescription.

The concept of prescriptions is an old one - the first recorded were etched on clay tablets in Mesopotamia in 2100 BC. Originally many prescription medications were custom made by pharmacists, but in recent decades most prescriptions have been fulfilled with mass-produced solutions. When the NHS was set up in 1948 the concept was a free health service for all those in the UK, although prescription charges were introduced in 1952 to help cover the costs of growing bills.

The History of LimbO on Prescription

We have a long history with the NHS, and our LimbO half leg model range first made it onto the Drug Tariff for England and Wales in 2006. Since then we’ve worked hard to establish these options and they have become the most popular waterproof solution for UK prescribers for patients with lower leg venous ulcers or wounds. The LimbO elbow model was also added to the Drug Tariff in 2014 to help patients keep their PICC line dry in the shower, PICC lines are often used with chemotherapy.

Market data and feedback shows that the LimbO range now accounts for 75% of waterproof protector options on the Drug Tariff. This is set to rise further with the addition of the LimbO foot model.

A Question of Cost

In an ideal world every person with a PICC line, diabetic ulcer or fracture would leave hospital with a LimbO. This would certainly help prevent the myriad of issues which frequently occur from getting a dressing, cast or vulnerable area wet. Ultimately the result could mean recasting, re-hospitalisation and significant extra treatment including additional nursing or medication. Certainly, the cost of providing a LimbO compared to each of these scenarios is significantly less. For example, just one day of a hospital stay in England could pay for more than 40 LimbOs!

The Impact of Diabetes

The foot model has rapidly become one of our most popular LimbOs since first being introduced over 5 years ago, partly because it helps a large patient group that is growing exponentially year on year - people living with diabetes.

With the number of people in the UK with diabetes continuing to increase, so too will the demand for foot care. A high proportion of people with diabetes have foot complications. Diabetes UK (2019) estimates that there are currently around 4.7 million people with diabetes in the UK; by 2025, it is expected that this number will reach five million. In their “Burden of Wounds” study, Guest et al. (2015) estimated there were 169,000 diabetic foot ulcers across the UK, equating to 5% of adults with diabetes having a foot ulcer. Moreover, NICE have observed that “At some point in their lives 15% of people with diabetes will have a diabetic foot ulcer”.

The addition of the foot model on to prescription means that this rapidly growing patient group will now have another option for getting a LimbO and won’t have to suffer with some of the issues mentioned above.

Next steps

There is always more work to be done on our quest to introduce our innovative product to as many new clinical teams and patient groups as possible. There are other LimbO models that could potentially become available on prescription in the future, for example, the LimbO full arm or full leg models are ideal for patients with lymphoedema who have full limb bandages or compression hosiery. We are determined to help all patients with the practical challenges of keeping dressings dry, enabling them to enjoy the invaluable benefits of a daily shower or bath: comfort, dignity and independence – vital to the mental health and wellbeing of us all.

We’re proud that our product helps so many patients maintain their independence during recovery, contributing to their quality of life, and increased availability on prescription helps this. This development also reduces the associated costs to hospital teams as they will deal with less wet dressings and casts. We look forward to continuing to ensure that LimbOs remain the waterproof cover of choice for practitioners, and accessible to all those who need them.

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