A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

New plan to end pressure sore postcode lottery

26 Jun 2014
APIL news

Patients hoping to avoid the pain and indignity of pressure ulcers in hospital are at the mercy of a postcode lottery, according to lawyers.

Figures gathered from NHS Trusts across Britain show a wide variation in performance,including a trust where more than half of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers deteriorated to levels where body fat, tendons, muscle or bone can be visible (against a national average of 12.5 per cent).

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) whose members handle cases on behalf of patients who have suffered pressure ulcers, launches a national campaign this week, aimed at raising standards of care across Britain.

“Research shows that 95 per cent of pressure ulcers are avoidable*, and that treatment costs the NHS around £2 billion a year,”** said APIL vice-president Jonathan Wheeler. “APIL is dedicated to the prevention of avoidable injury and the reduction of unnecessary claims and we want to see the techniques and practices of the best performing NHS Trusts replicated across the country. At the moment it really is the luck of the draw whether patients suffer pressure ulcers or not when in NHS care.”

APIL has developed a five-point plan, which aims to have a named individual in the hospital or care home responsible for the treatment of the pressure ulcer; to have a dedicated tissue viability nurse to support care homes in each county; to ensure that,wherever a pressure ulcer could occur, all staff are trained according to the relevant NICE guidelines; to support the roll out of the NHS Midlands and East‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign to hospitals and care homes across Britain, and to agree a national data collection, analysis and publication standard with a spot-checking regime to ensure this is carried out.

“Early identification and treatment should ensure that pressure ulcers do not reach critical levels. Allowing the ulcer to escalate to a level where you can seethe bone is almost always inexcusable” said Mr Wheeler.

“All pressure ulcers are painful, but far too many are being allowed to develop to levels that will cause serious pain and distress and take serious time and resource to heal.”

A map containing the pressure ulcer data gathered from hospital trusts across Britain can be seen here.


* 95% of all pressure ulcers are avoidable - Hibbs P (1998) The past politics of pressure sores. Journal of Tissue Viability Vol 8(4): pp. 14–5

** Pressure ulcers cost the NHS an estimated £1.8-2.6bn a year - Posnett J, Franks P (2007) The cost of skin breakdown and ulceration in the UK. In: Smith & Nephew Foundation, Hull, Skin Breakdown: The silent epidemic.

  • 5 point plan can be seen here.
  • Comparison map of pressure ulcer escalation in different hospital trusts across Britain can be found here.

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.

  • Fomore information contact APIL’s press and communications officers Tim Carter t: 0115 943 5409,e: [email protected], or Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808768623, e: [email protected].
  • Visit the association’s website at www.apil.org.uk.
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.



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Head of Campaigns and Communications
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
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Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
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Press and Communications Officer
Julie Crouch
0115 943 5408
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Zach Wheelhouse Steel
0115 943 5431
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