For many years the Lymphoedema Support Network, which is run by lymphoedema patients, and has provided you with this forum, has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of lymphoedema within the patient population and the medical profession, those of you who are our members will have read about our work in our newsletter, LymphLine. We are very well known and respected in the lymphoedema community and have won several awards for our work.
Over the years the LSN has had meetings with department of health officials, politicians, carried out political and healthcare campaigns and each campaign has taken us a few steps forward in our work to ensure that all lymphoedema patients receive appropriate treatment. However without robust evidence based research, the NHS is reluctant to provide treatment for many patients. Therefore, we have also worked together with The British Lymphology Society and The International Lymphoedema Framework to produce the building blocks for this evidence based research to show that lymphoedema treatments do work and are cost effective within the NHS. More recently, we have worked with these organisations to produce a document calling for a National Strategy for Lymphoedema Care in England, which was sent to NHS England. The LSN also had a meeting with the Domain 2 Lead, Dr Martin McShane, but despite all of our hard work, this document was turned down. Nothing is easy in the lymphoedema world!!
Our colleagues in The British Lymphology Society have now launched an online petition, once again calling for NHS England to develop a national strategy for lymphoedema. It currently has 477 signatures, the LSN is fully supportive of this action, we will be flagging it up in our next newsletter and posting it on our Facebook site. With the help and support of patients, we would like to see this number rise dramatically! Whilst there are no guarantees that it will bring about any change at all, we would encourage you to sign this petition and send it to your friends and family, lets support our healthcare professionals and see what patient power can do!