We are delighted that ‘Commissioning Guidance for Lymphoedema Services for Adults in the United Kingdom’ has now been published and can be viewed here.
The document is part of the work being undertaken by the National Lymphoedema Partnership (NLP). The NLP is a collaboration of groups from across the UK and Ireland working in the field of lymphoedema who work together to reduce unnecessary duplication in our work streams, advocate for equality in treatment, discuss research, improve knowledge, raise awareness and generally collaborate on trying to improve things for lymphoedema patients and the healthcare professionals who care for them.
As a patient group, the LSN has a specific role within the NLP to ‘champion’ the cause of people living with lymphoedema and one of the biggest frustrations for so many is the differences in care offered, depending on where you live or what has caused your swelling. Some parts of the country have excellent services, open to all, and others have no service or one that is only open to those with lymphoedema related to cancer treatment. Not only is this not fair, it is also not cost-effective and can end up costing the NHS more!
In order to tackle this inequality as productively as possible, the LSN has been leading on a project to produce guidance for those responsible for commissioning or ‘buying’ lymphoedema services. The guidance looks at what lymphoedema is, how common it is, what problems it causes for those living with it and how it can be treated. It goes on to explore various ways care can be provided in a cost-effective manner, the challenges and ways around them and the potential consequences and costs of failing to provide services when, as our population ages, more people survive cancer and obesity is increasing, the condition is becoming more common.
The guidance is aimed specifically at Commissioners and will be used as the NLP looks to work productively with them on improving equity of care.