Feeling the Cost Pressure?

In the UK, many reports suggest that the NHS may not be here in 10 years' time unless it undergoes rapid and radical reform, with demand for NHS services increasing by 4% each year. Unfortunately, this demand is not being reflected with increased funding however.

Quite to the contrary, the NHS has been challenged to deliver £22 billion in savings by the end of the financial year 2020/2021. The £700 million contribution from improving procurement represents only 3% of this overall savings target, meaning it isn’t going to be achieved by simply buying cheaper products or getting existing suppliers to drop their prices.

Choose value over price

Switching the focus from ‘price’ to ‘value’ is critical to support not only the NHS, but healthcare systems globally to reduce costs.

As consumers, not many of us go into the supermarket and simply buy the cheapest kitchen or toilet roll, as we know that we’ll probably use twice as much. Similarly, we don’t always go for the most premium brand simply because it has nice fancy packaging and a pretty pattern printed on it. Most of us go for a trusted product that we’ve used before, which we know will perform well.

What does any of this have to do with Vernacare?

Vernacare is a business built on creating quality products, proven to not only improve efficiency and reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections, but also reduce the associated cost-burden to healthcare organisations across the world. Whilst minimising the risk of cross-infection and release more nursing time, our products also help reduce costs in relation to:

  • Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs)
  • Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD)
  • Pressure Ulcers
Quantifying the costs of HCAIs

Trying to quantify the global cost of all healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) is an impossible task due to the number of variables at play. Studies tend to focus on specific pathogens or infections, such as a study from 2016 which highlighted that Norovirus alone affects over 700 million people worldwide per year (killing over 200,000), costing healthcare systems an estimated £2.8 billion.1

Other high-profile infections are catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Studies show that up to 56% of UTIs are associated with an indwelling urinary catheter, with each CAUTI thought to cost the NHS £1,122 per patient.2,3 To make things worse, up to 50% of urinary catheterisation is carried out without robust clinical indication.4

Vernacare’s new improved VernaFem female urinal provides a safer alternative to subjective and/or inappropriate catheterisation.

Understanding the impact of IAD

Another significant condition draining healthcare organisations budgets is Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD), which aside from being a significant cost burden, can have a devastating effect on an individual’s quality of life.

IAD compromises skin integrity and can cause pain, discomfort, and loss of independence. One study found that IAD affects as many as 41% of adults in long-term care; it is costly, painful and for the most part preventable.5


Is there a link between incontinence and pressure ulcers?

Not always, however it is widely recognised that incontinence can lead to pressure ulcers. This starts when urine and faeces come into contact with the skin, changing the natural pH (making it alkaline), causing redness and skin breakdown.

The NHS ‘SKINN’ model outlines prevention measures through the management of incontinence or moisture, specifically keeping the skin clean and dry.

Why is reducing incidence of pressure ulcers critically important?

A 2017 health economics study found that treating pressure ulcers costs the NHS more than £1.4 million every day.7 Other sources suggest:

  • Over 1,300 new pressure ulcers are reported each month
  • Up to 200,000 people developed a new pressure ulcer in 2018
  • Each pressure ulcer can cost over £4000 to treat

To discover more about pressure ulcers, click here.

Download our skin care guide, click here



Get On-Board

If you’d like to learn more about anything you’ve read, get in touch and don’t forget to follow our journey on Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ve got some exciting new products in the pipeline that we’re looking forward to sharing with you soon.




  1. Bartsch SM, et al (2016) Global Economic Burden of Norovirus Gastroenteritis. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0151219. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151219.
  2. Mantle S (2015) Reducing HCAIs – What the commissioner needs to know. NHS England, London. england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04//09-amr-brim-reducing-hcai.pdf
  3. High Impact Intervention No.6 (Urinary Catheter Care Bundle) Department of Health (2010)
  4. Shackley DC, Whytock C, Parry G et al. (2017) Variation in the prevalence of urinary catheters: a profile of national health service patients in England. BMJ Open 7(6): e013842
  5. Nix D, Haugen V. (2010). Prevention and management of incontinence associated dermatitis. Drugs Aging.
  6. Vernacare (2018) Wipes comparison report.
  7. Guest J.F. (2017) The health economic burden that acute and chronic wounds impose on an average clinical commissioning group/health board in the UK. Journal of Wound Care Vol. 26, No. 6
  8. Hope M. (2014) Help nurses care. https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/stop-the-pressure

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