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If there is no specialist service in my area

If there is no specialist service in my area

A referral to a lymphoedema practitioner can be very difficult. If the swelling is related to a cancer diagnosis then it should be possible for you to access specialist NHS treatment for your patient. If the condition is unrelated to a cancer diagnosis then it can be even more challenging to find an appropriate service to refer to.

To find out where your local specialist is please view the BLS directory and click on your region. Additionally you can email or telephone the LSN who hold a comprehensive list of specialist lymphoedema services in the UK (please specify whether your patient has cancer or non-cancer related lymphoedema). If there is no service in your area please go to the section ‘There is no specialist service in my area – what can I do to help?’

If you have decided to refer your patient to a specialist but there is no local service, it may be worth considering an out of area referral utilising the ‘choose and book’ service as some services are now available through this route.

If you are unable to access specialist care through any of the routes above, the following may assist you:

  • Initiate basic treatment as described in ‘What can I do for my patient?’ section.
  • In the presence of leaking legs or wounds, contact your local tissue viability or wound care team.
  • Advise your patient to contact the LSN to ask for an advocacy pack – this pack contains information about how to navigate the NHS and seek care.
  • You may like to consider applying for independent patient commissioning if there is a therapist or clinic able to provide this service in your area outside of the NHS provision.
  • Depending on your CCG arrangement it may be possible for you to access an individual health budget for your patient in order for them, with your support, to access their own treatment.
  • You are in an ideal position to raise concerns about the lack of appropriate care for your patient with the CCG. If you would like to discuss setting up a service in your locality or raising a concern about the lack of service then contact the LSN for advice.