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Lymphoedema Service

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body's tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs. It develops when the lymphatic system doesn't work properly. The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body that helps fight infection and remove excess fluid.

The purpose of the service is to provide assessment, treatment and preventative advice for patients with complex Lymphoedema.

The Lymphoedema Service aims to provide:

Management of complex needs.

Specialist treatment programmes for patients with severe or complex Lymphoedema.

  • Comprehensive assessment to ascertain cause of Lymphoedema in order to treat appropriately.
  • Informal education in Lymphoedema management.
  • A support network across the Cancer Network and across County Durham for all Lymphoedema practitioners.

  In addition we provide preventative advice on the avoidance of risk factors for those with mild to moderate Lymphoedema, or those at risk of developing Lymphoedema.

Comprehensive assessment to ascertain cause of Lymphoedema in order to treat appropriately, or to refer on if necessary.

  • Advice on self- management treatment regimes for patients with mild to moderate Lymphoedema.
  • On-going monitoring of this patient group to evaluate care, in order to achieve optimum concordance with self- management, to pre-empt and prevent complications, and with early referral onto for specialist treatments when problems do develop.
  • Advice to any Health Care Professional providing management for patients with Lymphoedema, either by telephone, face-to-face, or by an arranged joint visit to see the patient.  

Key People:

The lymphoedema service is run by two full time registered nurses holding qualifications in management of advanced lymphoedema who are trained in provision of manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) and deep oscillation therapy treatment (DOT).

Accessibility/ Referral

This service is available Monday to Fridays to adult patients within County Durham and Darlington.  The service is accessible to patients with lymphoedema, either cancer or non cancer related, registered with a general practitioner (GP) in the Durham/Dales, Easington, Peterlee, Sedgefield, Chester le St and Durham areas. The service is community based and

Clinics are held at the Butterwick Hospice, Bishop Aukland, Richardson Community Hospital, Barnard Castle, Easington Healthworks, Sedgefield community hospital, Chester le St community hospital and Willowburn hospice Lanchester ( soon to be re-established).

Home visits are arranged on specific days with the two lymphoedma practitioners each providing three days per month.

Referrals can be made by any health care professional by contacting the administration desk at the Centre for health, Peterlee for the referral on line form or by letter including reason for referral and full medical history: .

District nurses may refer via Sytem1electronic referral.

Telephone:  Macmillan team central access team, Centre for Health, Peterlee 01915692870.

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital