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National guidance issued on treating sickle cell

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England’s first ever standards for the care of adults with sickle cell anaemia have been launched today.

The standards, published by the Sickle Cell Society, include guidelines for nurses in primary care as well as specialist networks for hospitals and clinics. The guidance deals with topics such as the management of chronic and acute conditions, blood transfusions, and screening.

Dr Allison Streetly, programme director for the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme, said: ‘The introduction of these much needed national guidelines on caring for adults with the disease is greatly welcome.

‘Together with the care standards for thalassaemia they lay the foundation for a care framework where patient needs are properly understood both close to where people live and in specialist centres,’ she added.

With sickle cell being one of the most commonly inherited genetic diseases in England, the charity said its next challenge would be to improve understanding of sickle cell and thalassaemia among both the public and healthcare professionals.

The standards coincide with Sickle Cell Awareness Month, which has activities running across the country throughout July to improve awareness and management of the disease.

Dr Lorna Bennett, Chairperson, Sickle Cell Society said: ' The reality is that provision of care for adults with sickle cell disease can vary significantly between individual professionals as well as health care provision organisations. These standards are the tool needed to address the inequalities in provision and access to good quality care.'

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