Commissioning guidance for lymphoedema

Improving quality of life for people living  with and beyond cancer

Guidance for commissioners to improve the quality of life for people with lymphoedema in London. It identifies the gaps in services, how improvements can be made, what a good service looks like and how services can be evaluated. It also identifies the key education and training needs for the wider workforce and how they can be addressed.

Despite some excellent lymphoedema services in London, there is still significant variation in waiting times for treatment and access to treatment of the capital. This is important because while lymphoedema is incurable, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to achieving the best outcomes. There is much that can be done to improve symptoms, relieve pain and maximise quality of life and function for people with this condition.

England currently spends more than £178 million on admissions due to lymphoedema and it has been estimated that for every £1 invested in lymphoedema services, the NHS saves £100 by keeping people well and out of hospital.

There is considerable opportunity to make cost savings as well as improving the experience of patients surviving cancer through investment in specialist lymphoedema services. Accurate prescribing and dispensing of garments as well as education and training, of both the specialist and non-specialist lymphoedema workforce, are clear priorities moving forward.