Preparations and Planning

This week I’m preparing for the National Conference for Cancer Survivorship that takes place this weekend. I’m very privileged to be chairing the first form focused on lymphoedema. The special speakers will be Nora Kyne, Physiotherapy Manager from University College Galway and Dr. Vaughan Keeley, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Derby Hospitals UK. The ‘Living Well with Lymphoedema” session will look at incidence of lymphoedema following cancer treatment, the therapeutic management of lymphoedema and self-management. By all accounts the Conference itself has been booked-out to capacity and our forum, in particular, has been very popular. I hope to see lots of you there.

Reply from the Minister for Health
I mentioned in my last blog that we had a reply to a letter that we sent to the Minister for Health. We wrote last March, during our first Awareness Month, to draw his attention to lymphoedema as a condition and to the lack of adequate services. We mentioned that we were aware of an internal review of lymphoedema services within the HSE that had been conducted by a small group of HSE therapists and interested clinicians. We received a reply from the new Minister for Health Leo Varadkar T.D. You’ll see that it says that the HSE, more specifically the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), is developing a plan for the long-term development of lymphoedema services. It also makes reference to information that the HSE is developing for clinicians as well as new patient advice. This is good news and a positive development but the limited focus on lymphoedema following cancer is concerning given the needs of people who live with primary lymphoedema, or secondary lymphoedema for a reason other than cancer. We will continue to keep pressure on the Minister and the HSE to ensure that the needs of all patients living with lymphoedema or at risk of developing the condition are taken account of.  I’ll keep you posted.

Copy of reply received from Minister for Health, 23 July 2014