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Physios help develop new commissioning guidance for lymphoedema services and easy read leaflets

23 August 2016 - 12:30pm

Physiotherapists helped to create new guidance about lymphoedema services for adults in London, which was published on 8 August.

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The new guidance will help lymphoedema services follow best practice

The Transforming Cancer Services Team produced the guidance, which was developed by Karen Robb, a specialist cancer physiotherapist. The team is part of a collaboration between clinical commissioning groups and NHS England known as the Healthy London Partnership.

Dr Robb said: ‘This new guidance will help commissioners in London to reflect on their current understanding of lymphoedema services, benchmark their services against best practice and provide the best available lymphoedema services for their communities.’

The guidance includes a map of specialist lymphoedema services in the capital, recommendations for commissioners and providers, an implementation plan and a best practice service specification.

Dr Robb said lymphoedema can have a devastating impact on people surviving cancer. Problems range from uncontrolled pain, recurring episodes of infection, to having to take time off work or stop work completely.

‘We found that reducing risks, early diagnosis, early intervention and help with self-management are fundamental to better outcomes for patients with lymphoedema and better value for money for the NHS,’ she said.

Dr Robb added that although the guidance focuses on services for people who develop lymphoedema following a cancer diagnosis, it is also applicable to people with non-cancer related lymphoedema.

Easy read lymphoedema leaflets

This summer the Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland (LNNI) published two new ‘easy read’ leaflets to support people with lymphoedema and learning disabilities.

Angela Crocker, a speech and language therapist at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, worked with Faye McLernon and Tammie Patrick, who lead easy read groups at the trust.

The new easy read documents are:

  • a leaflet guide for people diagnosed with lymphoedema
  • a four ‘key messages’ postcard to help people with lymphoedema to look after themselves

The resources are available from the LNNI website: www.lnni.org.

NHS England webinar On 8 September NHS England will hosting a 60-minute webinar about providing lymphoedema and chronic oedema services. It will start at 6.00pm.

The event is being organised by the National Lymphoedema Partnership. Speakers will include Dr Robb and Peter Mortimer, patron of the British Lymphology Society.

Jane Nicklin, a physiotherapist and lead developer for the webinar, said: ‘It will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about this condition and how effective services can support local priorities.’

To register for the webinar visit http://bit.ly/2bpzJZi and enter the meeting number 959 963 900.

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