Screening for sickle cell disorders will be offered to all newborns in England, the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme announced today.
The test will be part of the standard 'heel prick' test and will identify children with the disorders and those who are genetic carriers.
Alison Streetly, programme director, said: 'Screening for these disorders represents a real recognition that sickle cell and thallassaemia are now among the most commonly inherited genetic disorders in England and that it is no longer possible to assume who may or may not be affected.'
Standards and guidelines for the clinical care of sickle cell diseases in childhood are also published today. They formalise, for the first time, the acceptable clinical quality standards for patients receiving treatment.