Ruth Maguire MSP gave her support to an awareness campaign by the British Lymphology Society in the Scottish Parliament this week.

The BLS’ hosted an exhibition inside the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of Lymphoedema, a chronic condition which causes swelling, skin and tissue changes in addition to a predisposition to infection. It most commonly affects the limbs but can affect other parts of the body in rarer cases.

According to estimates by the BLS, up to 2,220 people in Ayrshire and Arran are affected with the condition.

Ms Maguire said: “I’m grateful to the British Lymphology Society for taking the time to come in and discuss what they want to achieve and what needs to be done in order to raise awareness of treatment and management of lymphoedema.

“Many people are living with this incurable and often debilitating condition. A review of access to appropriate treatment for the condition can lead to long term savings in treatment costs on our NHS.”

  • Lymphoedema affects all ages from birth to old age and has several causes
  • Lymphoedema, or failure of the lymphatic system, results in swelling, skin and tissue changes and predisposition to infection. It most commonly affects the limbs but may also affect midline structures such as the head, neck, trunk, breast or genitalia.
  • Lymphoedema is incurable. It may well be debilitating, leading to several health problems including recurrent infection, hard to heal wounds and ulcers, limited mobility, impact on quality of life, mental wellbeing and limiting employment options.
  • Poorly managed lymphoedema can result in complications which are costly to health services.
  • People who are obese, elderly or have complex health conditions are more likely to develop the condition.
  • The BLS want:
    • A review of access to appropriate treatment, regardless of cause in each health board.
    • Strategy developed and implemented to improve accurate prescription of appropriate compression garments.
    • Application of the International Lymphoedema Educaton Benchmark Statements in all undergraduate healthcare professional training programmes to ensure adequate baseline understanding of lymphoedema to enable “reduction in incidence, severity and complications of lymphoedema, ensure early diagnosis, support self-management and enhance quality of life”.
    • More robust data on prevalence and patient