Deficiencies in leg ulcer care: a national survey in Scotland

S. H. Armstrong, C. V. Ruckley, R. J. Prescott, J. J. Dale, E. Andrea Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify what specialist expertise and services are currently available, in Scotland, to support general practitioners (GPs) and community nurses in the management of leg ulcer patients and the perceived need for the improvement of the service.
Design: Postal questionnaires to randomly selected samples of GPs and community nurses.
Setting: All 15 Scottish Health Board areas.
Subjects: Six hundred and seventy-three GPs and 441 community nurses were questioned.
Results: Five hundred and twelve (76%) GPs replied. Barely half, 285 (56%), expressed satisfaction with the service and only 155 (30%) had access to a recognized leg ulcer specialist. GPs who had access to a specialist expressed a greater level of satisfaction with the leg ulcer service than those without a local specialist.
Community nurse questionnaire: Three hundred and sixty (82%) nurses replied. Two hundred and forty six (68%) indicated that the diagnosis of the cause of ulceration was usually made by both the GP and the nurse but the choice of treatment was most often made by the nurse alone. The great majority (69%) did not have access to a local leg ulcer clinic and only 34 (9%) indicated that they had access to management protocols, almost 90% of nurses expressing a need for protocols. Both questionnaires revealed a lack of specialist support, dedicated leg ulcer clinics, better education and training, and leg ulcer management protocols.
Conclusion: Serious deficiencies in the support available for community care of leg ulcer patients have been identified. The situation requires to be remedied if more cost-effective outcomes for leg ulcer patients are to be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1998


  • leg ulcers
  • treatment
  • community care
  • health surveys
  • Scotland


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