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Lymphoedema network wins award for raising awareness in Northern Ireland

9 November 2016 - 4:07pm

A physiotherapy-led network in Northern Ireland has won a national award for raising awareness of lymphoedema among healthcare professionals.

Lymphoedema network NI award win

BLS representative John Huddlestone with members of the award-winning lymphoedema network (left to right) Laura Henry, Jill Hamilton, Pippa McCabe and Jane Rankin

The Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland (LNNI) was honoured by UK charity the British Lymphology Society (BLS) at its annual conference in Birmingham on 3 October.

Their award recognised the network’s commitment to improving the referral pathway for lymphoedema in Northern Ireland. This includes raising awareness of the condition among multi-professional undergraduate and postgraduate students. It also addresses the educational needs of referrers, including GPs, public health agencies and community groups.

The network aims to make sure that all referrers

  • possess a specific level of knowledge about the condition
  • are able to provide first line advice and management
  • can make timely and appropriate referrals

Building relationships

Physiotherapist and network lead Jane Rankin told Frontline: ‘Lymphoedema awareness is embedded in the LNNI work plan. Initially, this involved the common referring groups, such as breast cancer, but it has evolved, as a result of referral analysis and feedback, to include those outside normal referring groups.’

‘Our overall aim is to identify all our referring groups and build relationships with them.

‘After eight years, we are still experiencing an annual increase in new referrals, which demonstrates the increasing recognition of lymphoedema and chronic oedemas, and their management.

‘And the continuing increase in bariatric challenges, and the number of cancer survivors, means the services will continue to be in demand.’

Two physiotherapists and members of the network, Laura Henry and Jill Hamilton, also received awards at the BLS conference for their poster presentations.

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