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Sickle cell: NHS to investigate racial inequalities for first time

Sickle cell patients’ experiences of barriers to treatment and racial inequalities will be investigated by an NHS body next month, The Independent has learned.

The NHS Race and Health Observatory has collaborated with Public Digital, a consultancy group, to lead original research into the experiences of people with sickle cell, including listening to NHS patients’ and carers’ first-hand accounts of acute emergency hospital admissions and managing the condition at home.

Research will focus on a series of interviews and ‘experience mapping’ workshops, the findings of which are anticipated to inform recommendations that will help improve emergency care and treatment pathways.

“As a priority, we need to discover new measures and treatment plans that can help eradicate the often unacceptable, substandard care people with sickle cell have historically received whilst being unwell and in acute pain,” Dr Habib Naqvi, Director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said.

This move comes after a parliamentary inquiry into avoidable sickle cell deaths called upon the Observatory to undertake work into sickle cell care in relation to race and ethnicity.

The inquiry published a report, ‘No one’s listening’, in November 2021, which uncovered the bleak reality of patients grappling with racism in the NHS while attempting to access healthcare.

Only half of healthcare professionals feel they have sufficient tools to manage the long-term damage that sickle cell disease brings, new research from Global Blood Therapeutics found, following extensive studies carried out across 10 countries including the UK, US and Canada.

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Source: The Independent, 22 September 2022


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