Varicose vein referral

This is a summary of the NHS Devon commissioning policy for varicose vein referral.

DRSS has been asked by NHS Devon and secondary care to tighten implementation of the current Varicose Veins Policy.

The majority of GP referrals will be unaffected, but there is going to be stricter implementation of the policy wording on "skin change".

It is considered that mild skin changes, for example haemosiderin deposition, thread veins and non varicose eczema are in keeping with Grade 2 veins and will therefore not be suitable for onward referral.

Recurrent thrombophlebitis, significant bleeding from varicosities, lipodermatosclerosis, varicose eczema and active or healed ulceration imply grade 3 or higher and can be referred into secondary care.

Supporting referral guidelines

Eastern: Varicose Veins clinical referral guideline

Northern: Varicose Vein clinical referral guideline


Referral Criteria

Referral will not be routinely commissioned for patients with:

  • Grade 0: Thread/Flare/Reticular veins
  • Grade I: Varicose veins without symptoms
  • Grade II: Varicose veins with symptoms such as pain, aching, heaviness or swelling

NHS Devon will fund specialist advice and surgery if appropriate for the following:

  • Grade III: Varicose Veins with complications, including bleeding, recurrent phlebitis or eczema
  • Grade IV: Signs of venous insufficiency – lipodermatosclerosis or healed ulceration
  • Grade V: Active leg ulceration

Commissioning policy - Varicose Vein Referral

To receive exceptional funding, a clinical advocate for the patient needs to be able to demonstrate that:

  • the patient is significantly different to the general population of patients with the condition in question


  • the patient is likely to gain significantly more health benefit from the intervention that might be normally expected for patients with that condition.

Applications for consideration for funding approval should be sent to:


Referral Forms

Varicose Vein Interventions referral form - No merge fields

Varicose Vein referral form - Emis WEB

Varicose Vein referral form - Microtest

Varicose Vein referral form - Systmone

Supporting Information

Individual Funding Request (IFR)

Publication date: January 2020


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