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Wessex team plans campaign to promote earlier booking for sickle cell and thalassaemia screening

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The Wessex Screening and Immunisation team would like to hear from colleagues about effective initiatives to achieve earlier booking for sickle cell and thalassemia (SCT) screening.

A woman undergoing a blood test.In Wessex, we have an improving but still variable achievement of the 10-week booking target for SCT screening.   The aim of the SCT screening programme is to offer screening to every pregnant mother by 10 weeks’ gestation to ensure there is enough time for further tests to be carried out, if required, by 12 weeks and 6 days gestation, which is the target for completion of all SCT prenatal diagnostic tests.

Some of our providers are making great progress in earlier booking by introducing self-referral for women, but we would like to achieve more.

The Wessex screening and immunisation team is working with Wessex maternity providers to plan a campaign to promote earlier booking and we would like to build on tried and tested initiatives. We would like to communicate to women, GPs and other health professionals the key reasons for achieving SCT screening by 10 weeks’ gestation.

Please help us implement the best evidence-based practice by sharing your experiences of what works and what is less likely to work in practice.

We are also discussing SCT screening with local clinical commissioning groups and local authorities to understand how they can provide support or information to help us in our campaign.

We hope that by raising awareness of SCT screening we will make a real difference in supporting people to make informed choices during pregnancy and to improving infant health through prompt identification of babies with sickle cell disease or thalassaemia.

If you have any information you are willing to share for this purpose, please contact Shirley Large or David Harris.

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