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Lymphoedema: Health Services

Question for Department of Health

UIN 13148, tabled on 23 October 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress the Prescribed Specialist Services Advisory Group has made on discussions on proposals for a nationally-commissioned specialist lymphology service.

Answered on

2 November 2015

At its meeting on 15 October 2015, the Prescribed Specialist Services Advisory Group (PSSAG) considered a proposal from the British Lymphology Society for a service for lymphoedema to be nationally commissioned. PSSAG’s recommendations on all proposals considered at this meeting will be put to Ministers shortly.

It is for Ministers to decide which services should be prescribed as specialised services and therefore nationally commissioned by NHS England. Ministers make these decisions based on advice from PSSAG.

Regarding the Lymphoedema Services in England: A Case for Change report, published by the National Cancer Action Team in March 2013, the main recommendation for the NHS Commissioning Board (now NHS England) to consider was the creation of a lymphoedema strategy for England.

NHS England is focused on a system-wide approach that aims to ensure improvements in outcomes for all individuals with long-term conditions, including lymphoedema, rather than focusing on individual strategies for specific conditions.

The commissioning of services for the treatment and care of lymphoedema patients is a local matter, and information concerning the arrangement of such services is not collected. People with lymphoedema can usually be managed through routine access to primary or second care services and there is range of guidance to support local commissioning, including: an international consensus document on best practice in the diagnosis, treatment care and support of people with; and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on advanced breast cancer, which provides advice on lymphoedema care. Both sets of guidance can be found at the following links:

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care