The NHS could save £2m a year by using cheaper dressings for diabetic foot ulcers with no ill effects for patients, according to a trial reported by Health Technology Assessment.
Researchers at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust compared three different types: a simple dry dressing; one that is impregnated with iodine; and one made of modern hydrofibre.
The results showed no difference between the three in terms of the number of ulcers that healed, time taken to heal and any health related quality-of-life events.
Professor William Jeffcoate, who led the research, says: “We found no evidence to suggest any difference in the effectiveness, safety or health-related quality of life between these dressings.”
The report points out that because 15% of diabetes patients will statistically suffer with an ulcer of the foot at some point, using the cheaper dressing could save £2m a year.
The randomised trial involved 317 patients who had uninfected ulcers for at least six weeks from one of nine expert centres around the UK.