Sickle cell and thalassaemia awareness month
NHS Southwark CCG is raising awareness of sickle cell and thalassaemia as part of the national campaign.
Sickle cell and thalassaemia are inherited blood disorders which affect your red blood cells. People can also be carriers, which means that although they don't have the disease, their children could be at risk.
It is estimated that around 12,500 people are living with sickle cell disease and 310,000 people in England are sickle cell carriers. This affects 350 pregnancies every year. In England, all pregnant women are offered screening. All babies born in the UK are also tested for sickle cell disease as part of the heel-prick newborn screening test performed by the midwife five days after delivery.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Southwark GP said: "If you are pregnant it is important that you are screened. In particular if you are of black Caribbean, black African, eastern Mediterranean, middle eastern and Asian origin as the condition is more common."
He added: "If you are a carrier, your baby's father should also be offered a screening blood test to check what the risks for your baby are."
The South East London Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre run by Guy's and St Thomas' offers counselling and support to individuals in Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham with the conditions. A dedicated team of specialist nurses provide blood tests, genetic counselling and pre-conceptual screening. You might be referred by your GP or a national screening programme or you can contact the centre directly.
South East London Sickle cell and Thalassaemia Centre,
Wooden Spoon House, 5 Dugard Way,
London, SE11 4TH
Tel. 020 3049 5993
Opening times: 9am - 5pm (Monday to Friday)
The UK's leading charity for people affected by sickle cell disease is the Sickle Cell Society. Their website contains a wide range of useful information, resources and news items about ongoing research and upcoming fundraising events. Go to www.sicklecellsociety.org. You can find out more about the diseases at www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sickle-cell-anaemia.