Increasing numbers of people in the community have long-term urinary catheters, but catheterisation is not a risk free option and it can be associated with increased morbidity1. It is an invasive procedure that is sometimes unjustifi ed and can be neglected when in place2. When used appropriately though, it can add to a patient’s quality of life. In this article, Linda Nazarko discusses the risks of catheterisation and looks at how these risks can be reduced.