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Introducing the Leg Ulcer Forum (LUF)

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VOL: 98, ISSUE: 25, PAGE NO: 50

Mark Collier, BA, RNT, RCNT, ONC, RN, is lead nurse, tissue viability, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, Lincolnshire

The Leg Ulcer Forum (LUF), formed in 1993 by Professor Christine Moffatt (now forum president) and a few like-minded colleagues, was initially set up as a support network for all those who had completed the then English National Board course N18 for nurses (The Management of Patients with Leg Ulcers).

The Leg Ulcer Forum (LUF), formed in 1993 by Professor Christine Moffatt (now forum president) and a few like-minded colleagues, was initially set up as a support network for all those who had completed the then English National Board course N18 for nurses (The Management of Patients with Leg Ulcers).

It initially provided a unique opportunity for former course colleagues to share experiences and support each other as they returned to their own clinical environments. Often successful individuals would be the only specifically trained nurse in their area and yet their managers expected them to both organise and set up local leg ulcer services, which had to be seen to be both clinically and cost-effective.

Aims of the forum
As the availability of ENB N18 courses increased within the UK - as well as the number of nurses who have completed the course - so has the nature of the LUF changed to reflect the current environments it functions in: clinical, political and social. Despite this, the aims of the forum have remained unchanged and are as highlighted below:

- To promote a local network of resources for the benefit of patients experiencing either ongoing leg ulcer or wound management problems through the establishment of specialist services supported by appropriately qualified staff - some of whom may be termed clinical nurse specialists/advanced practitioners;

- To provide a forum for the advancement of the education of nurses and other health care professionals involved in the treatment of leg ulcers and related conditions;

- Development of new branches of the Leg Ulcer Forum in the UK;

- To liaise with similar and appropriate organisations in other countries in order to facilitate international affiliations.

All of the above can be summarised by the current LUF philosophy, 'a national forum to advance clinical practice for the management of patients with leg ulcers and associated conditions through the education and support of all relevant professionals'. The forum executive agreed this philosophy, following the formal adoption by the LUF membership of a working constitution, at the annual general meeting held in December 2000.

The executive committee
The current members of the LUF executive committee are as follows:

- Irene Anderson

- Lilian Bradley (All Irish Affiliation)

- Mark Collier (chair)

- Merry Collinson (education)

- Caroline Dowsett (journal editor)

- Lynfa Edwards (journal editor)

- Judy Harker

- Gill Henn

- Brenda King (education)

- Christine Moffatt (president)

- Penny Musson (BLS link)

- Victoria Quioc (honorary secretary and WEB link)

- Julie Stevens (treasurer)

Membership
Membership of the forum - open to all health care professionals who are actively involved with the management of patients with leg ulcers or wounds - has always been and remains free, thanks both to the support of a number of commercial sponsors as well as the success of the annual LUF conference. The format of this is now one conference - two venues, the same programme being repeated in both a northern and southern location.

However, it should be noted that members have to actively renew membership each year by completing and returning a simple renewal form to the LUF administrator. This ensures that the membership remains 'live' - over 1,000 at the time of writing, Additionally members are given the opportunity to enter their details on a 'live' database with at present over 150 entries. One of the aims of the database is to ensure that, as patients move out of a practitioner's area, they can be referred to another appropriate service without delay, providing continuity of care.

Affiliations
In recent years the LUF has developed strong affiliations with the All Irish LUF, the British Lymphology Society, the Society of Vascular Nurses and the Society of Vascular Surgeons. In addition, the LUF executive has also striven to consolidate and further develop international links that have already been made with appropriate organisations in Australia and Canada, as well as foster new links with organisations in Portugal and South Africa.

Website
During the first half of this year the LUF has been pleased to announce the launch of its official website, which can be accessed via http://www.legulcerforum.org

The content of the website includes:

- The philosophy and general information about the LUF;

- The opportunity to become an LUF member online;

- Back issues of the LUF journal;

- Useful clinical articles and case studies;

- Selected educational leaflets produced by the LUF;

- Forthcoming conference/study day details;

- Links to other relevant wound care sites;

- Links to all our annual sponsors.

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