Lymphoedema Specialist Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Lymphoedema Specialist Services's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Lymphoedema Specialist Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Director and Lymphoedema
Consultant Nurse Practitioner
Jane Board
Empowering patients to
effectively self-manage
through clinical excellence
Lymphoedema Specialist Services Ltd deliver specialist
treatment to adults with all types of lymphoedema and
chronic oedema. Founded in 2011, they are owned and
managed by Jane Board, who has over 23 years’ experience
in the provision of lymphoedema care that includes the
development of seven lymphoedema services in southeast
England. Jane explains that their process has helped speed
up the delivery of vital equipment used for the treatment of
lymphoedema and discusses their plans moving forward.
Lymphoedema is a chronic form of oedema, or swelling, occurring in any part
of the body because of a failure of the lymphatic system to drain lymph fluid
from the tissues. In the UK there are at least 240,000 sufferers of lymphoedema.
Causes of the condition include cancer and the effects of treatment, cellulitis
(infection) and genetic malformations. The condition cannot be cured, ensuring
treatment is required for life. The core components of treatment include multi-
layer bandaging, compression garments, manual lymphatic drainage and care of
the skin.
Our key objective is to provide a model of care for the initial prevention and
prompt access to treatment for lymphoedema sufferers residing in East Sussex.
In 2012, we became one of the first independent healthcare providers to gain
and hold a CQC licence in the UK. We were then directly approached and
subsequently commissioned by the NHS to provide a lymphoedema service in
»Director and Lymphoedema
Consultant Nurse Practitioner:
Jane Board
»Founded in 2011
»Based in Eastbourne,
»No. of employees: 2
»Services: Deliver specialist
treatment to adults for all
types of lymphoedema and
chronic oedema
Specialist Services
Patient-centred care
Putting the patient first continues
to underpin our working practice. A
holistic approach to patients and their
clinical treatment needs is integrated
with their personal preference.
Strategies surrounding symptom
control are key in the educating of
patients to self-manage lymphoedema
as a chronic condition, with the aim
of improving quality of life. Results of
consecutive annual patient satisfaction
questionnaires continue to provide
evidence of the effectiveness of our
In January 2018, all of the 76 out
of 103 patients who responded to
a survey reported that they were
treated with respect and dignity.
Ninety-three per cent also reported
that the treatment they received was
controlling their lymphoedema and
improving their quality of life. Key
performance data collected every
month since 2012 demonstrates our
commitment to seeing every patient
promptly following their referral, and
shows a 100 per cent achievement in
assessing the 1,847 patients referred to
us in fulfilment of our NHS contractual
waiting response times.
Enabling prompt access to
In line with best practice guidelines,
our policy is to instigate treatment
promptly for each patient to control
and reduce symptoms quickly.
Treatment often includes the
measurement and fitting of hosiery;
however, in February 2014, two
years after the commencement of
an NHS contract, it became evident
that patients were experiencing
delays in receiving hosiery through
the conventional prescription route of
ordering items from GPs. In August
2014, 150 patients were audited
surrounding the process, with 83 per
cent of the 112 who returned the
questionnaire reporting issues with
obtaining hosiery. Sixty-seven per
cent cited the prescription route as
adequate, hard or very hard because
it involved multiple organisations,
with documentation surrounding the
request getting lost, or the wrong
item being received. Forty-six per cent
reported their non-receipt of hosiery
after a period of two weeks or more.
With the support of a compression
hosiery company, we initiated an
alternative process, with the aim
of increasing the speed of hosiery
obtainment and the removal of the
issues faced by patients. The process
enabled the direct purchase and
delivery of hosiery to each patient’s
home, with financial reconciliation
every three months with the NHS. A
post-process audit undertaken two
years later found only two per cent of
the same patients reporting their non-
receipt of hosiery within a two-week
period or more, and with 90 per cent
reporting a stress-free experience.
A lymphoedema affecting
both legs and feet
Putting the
patient first
continues to
underpin our
Highlighting best practice
Supported by NHS commissioners,
my colleague and I continue with the
process and the recommendation
of practice to other lymphoedema
services. My colleague and I were
finalists in the category of innovative
practice at the Health Service Journal
award, in November 2017, and have
further disseminated the information
to lymphoedema services in the UK
through publication in the
Journal of
in May 2018.
Reducing the administrative
Since our commencement, we have
been challenged with the undertaking
of administration and balancing
the work with patients’ treatment.
The challenge could not be resolved
with the recruitment of clerical staff.
Instead, we have worked with an IT
company to produce a patient data
management system, specifically
designed for us. Theautomatic
retrieval of data and patient
appointment timetabling has not only
increased our efficiencies but has also
saved approximately seven hours of
administration each month.
Future direction
Over the years, the increasing
number of referrals, along with the
associated need for patients to receive
treatment, has made it very difficult
for my colleague and I to practise
in a proactive way. Consequently,
education and teaching surrounding
lymphoedema prevention for patients
and healthcare professionals – one
of our key objectives – has needed to
be curtailed because of the need to
prioritise patients’ treatment.
In acknowledgement of current
health policy, the need for the
implementation of strategies to
prevent lymphoedema has resulted
in a change in the focus of our
practice. The completion of our
NHS contract has released time
to implement procedures such as
Bioimpedance Spectroscopy (BIS)
Technology. BIS technology detects
small changes in fluid in the tissues
before swelling (lymphoedema) is
visualised. Consequently, surveillance
through data analysis enables the
early detection of lymphoedema in
patients who are at risk of developing
the condition. Early treatment
intervention reduces and resolves
the oedema. Education of patients
in self- management techniques
to minimise lymphoedema, further
reduces the risk of worsening
swelling, cellulitis and impaired
function and mobility. This model
of care is also anticipated to be cost
effective because of the reduction in
the extent of lymphoedema treatment
required by patients, and the
subsequent burden on overstretched
detects small
changes in fluid
before swelling
in the tissues
is visualised
A lymphoedematous leg
supported with hosiery


This article was sponsored by Lymphoedema Specialist Services. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy