Transformation Partners in Health and Care > News > Lymphoedema Awareness Week: 4-8 March 2024

Lymphoedema Awareness Week: 4-8 March 2024

4-8 March is Lymphoedema Awareness Week – a condition that affects around 430,000 people across the UK.

Lymphoedema affects the way the lymphatic system works and can be caused by a wide range of factors, including a side effect of some cancer treatments. In London alone, it’s estimated that between 50,000 – 60,000 people are affected by lymphoedema – however the condition is poorly understood and the commissioning landscape across London has led to unequal access to specialist lymphoedema treatment depending on where a patient lives in the city.

Additionally, there is a lack of awareness in primary and community care around lymphoedema, making it harder for patients to get access to the right advice and treatment to enable them to self manage their condition.

An objective of the NHS Long Term Plan is to ensure that every person diagnosed with cancer has access to personalised care, including a needs assessment and care plan, where appropriate – this includes access to services to manage chronic, long term conditions such as lymphoedema.

The Transforming Cancer Services Team is embarking on a programme to develop lymphoedema services across London to improve outcomes for patients. Working in partnership with London Integrated Care Boards and Cancer Alliances, the Lymphoedema Workforce Development Programme has four key aims:

  • raise the profile of lymphoedema as a career for healthcare professionals through a programme of recruitment, education and training;
  • develop and implement an integrated care pathway for lymphoedema with system partners to improve the patient journey;
  • build strategic clinical leadership to influence change within local healthcare systems across London;
  • Support the existing Lymphoedema Community of Practice to continue fostering peer support and leadership across lymphoedema services.

An additional aim of the programme is to share patient experiences of existing lymphoedema services in London to influence service commissioners and present a strong case for change.

Find out more about the London Lymphoedema Workforce Programme.