Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a reliable marker of future vascular disease and is a substantial public health issue. In Europe and North America, 27 million people are estimated to have PAD, and in the UK around 100,000 people are diagnosed every year. People with PAD are six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease within 10 years than people without PAD. Evidence suggests that aggressive risk factor management will prevent many premature deaths and associated morbidity. Therefore, it is vital to identify patients and initiate effective management strategies swiftly. However, whilst 40% of PAD patients have symptomatic disease ranging from intermittent claudication to critical limb ischaemia, around 60% are asymptomatic. As a result of the low rates of detection PAD is underdiagnosed and undertreated in the UK. The gravity of the problem has prompted the formation of professional bodies to address this situation through the development of national clinical guidelines. Indeed, with the focus of general practitioners' work covered by the quality and outcomes framework in the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, many consider that the inclusion of PAD in the GMS contract is critical to raising awareness and improving the management of PAD in primary care.