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Landmark sickle cell disease inquiry finds evidence of racism in patient care

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A groundbreaking inquiry into sickle cell disease has found “serious care failings” in acute services and evidence of attitudes underpinned by racism.

The report by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia, led by Pat McFadden MP, found evidence of sub-standard care for sickle cell patients admitted to general wards or attending A&E departments.

The inquiry also found widespread lack of adherence to national care standards, low awareness of sickle cell among healthcare professionals and clear examples of inadequate training and insufficient investment in sickle cell care.

The report notes frequent disclosures of negative attitudes towards sickle cell patients, who are more likely to be people with an African or Caribbean background, and evidence to suggest that such attitudes are often underpinned by racism.

The inquiry also found that these concerns have led to a fear and avoidance of hospitals for many people living with sickle cell.

Care failings have led to patient deaths and “near misses” are not uncommon, leading to a cross-party call for urgent changes into care for sickle cell patients.

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Source: The Independent, 15 November 2021

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