The RCN Institute, the Centre for Evidence-based Nursing, and the University of York have recently produced guidelines on the management of patients with venous leg ulcers. These guidelines make recommendations with regard to assessment, compression therapy, cleansing, debridement, dressings, contact sensitivity, training/education and quality assurance (Cullum et al, 1998). They are evidence-based (Effective Health Care Bulletin, 1997), have been informed by expert opinion and are reflective of current good clinical practice. It is envisaged that they will be updated every 2 years. This article provides an outline of these guidelines. However, healthcare professionals must note that guidelines can simplify clinical decision making and this must be acknowledged when the guidelines' recommendations for practice are being implemented.