Health CommitteeWritten evidence from Nichola Ebbern (LTC 09)

Support for Lymphoedema

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is not a luxury and should be provided by the NHS as part of the health care package for sufferers.

MLD practitioners should be registered and of an approved standard to ensure quality of care.

1. As a young sufferer of secondary lymphoedema following breast cancer, I would urge you to ensure manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is provided as part of the standard care package.

2. I currently only receive compression garments from my local hospital and while these are vital to my care, they do not help my pain management or significantly ease my condition and improve my standard of living. I currently pay privately for MLD however to do this I have had to take out a loan. The financial implications of this are significant at a time when wages are not increasing while the cost of living is spiralling out of control.

3. Following advice from a fellow breast cancer sufferer, I contacted a MLD practitioner. There was little guidance regarding qualifications of the practitioner or the use of the various machines that help to break down the pooling of fluid in various parts of my arm. I was lucky in that my first enquiry resulted in a very competent and experienced practitioner; however there are many people who are not as fortunate. Like other professions, this should be a regulated profession with an easy follow system that allows people access to competent practitioners.

4. MLD relieves my pain and discomfort, allowing me to sleep at night and carry out many normal activities during the day. Without it my quality of life would be greatly reduced and I would be a bigger burden on the NHS as I would need sleeping tablets, pain relief medication and treatment for depression. All of these I had prior to discovering MLD.

5. This is a debilitating, life long condition and more care should be provided to sufferers. MLD should be provided to all sufferers in all healthcare trusts.

7 May 2013

Prepared 3rd July 2014