Celebrities celebrate ten years of screening success for sickle cell and thalassaemia

Celebrities celebrate ten years of screening success for sickle cell and thalassaemia

Comedian Lenny Henry, JB from boy band JLS, Trevor Phillips Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and junior golfer Bryce Campbell teamed up to offer their support at the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme. They attended a special reception at Portcullis House on 21 June 2011, which was hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia, chaired by Dianne Abbott MP. The reception also marked World Sickle Cell Day which was on June 19.

One of the key themes of the evening was the importance of educating men about screening and explaining why having a screening test is valuable for them and their families. Screening for both men and women during pregnancy identifies people who are genetic carriers and who are at risk of having a baby with a serious condition.

Lenny Henry, a long term supporter of the programme, said: “All men need to know about these conditions and think about taking up screening, especially if they are starting a family as it may reveal important and useful genetic information, which might affect any children they have.”

JB said “I am personally aware of the value of screening and have been tested but I know that many young men are not. We need to spread the word that testing is important for the health of any children you may have.”

Health Minister Anne Milton said: “I would like to thank the Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Society for the work they have done in raising awareness and developing services in this field. We have come a long way in the last 10 years but there is still more to do. Clinicians, healthcare providers and, in particular, commissioners will have a big part to play in this.

To help this work the Department of Health is currently supporting a project with specialised commissioners. This will produce models to help them make informed decisions on where best to get the services their local people need. It will also set standards of care for those providing services, making sure they deliver the best care as well as encouraging more joined up working to make services easier for people to use."

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