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New sickle cell and thalassaemia counselling resource published

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme

Counsellor looking at couple who are looking at each other seriously and holding hands

We’re excited to launch the new NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SCT) Screening Programme’s SCT counselling knowledge and skills resource.

The competences described in the resource reflect the minimum requirements for health professionals working with families affected by, or at risk of, sickle cell or thalassaemia. They focus on how to support families or individuals to deal with genetic risk.

A year ago, we asked you to tell us how we could improve the old counselling competences resource.

What you told us

You told us you need:

  • a shorter, concise set of competences that can be achieved within very busy workloads
  • an assessment record that shows trainee practitioners are working towards achieving the competences
  • signposting to education and training resources for trainee practitioners, especially those working in low prevalence areas where access to an expert clinical network is not as easy

What we did

To make the new resource manageable, we’ve broken it down into the following sections:

  1. A knowledge and skills guide that encompasses 8 core competences and associated learning outcomes and practice indicators
  2. An assessment record that allows trainee practitioners and their supervisors to capture progress.
  3. Additional resources to help users achieve the 8 core competences.
  4. An example of a job description for a role involving SCT counselling.
  5. An example of a SCT counselling form.
  6. A mapping document that maps all the competences, learning outcomes and practice indicators to national occupational standards.

We changed the title of the guidance from SCT counselling competences to SCT counselling knowledge and skills to match the broader aim of covering specific learning, abilities, knowledge and behaviours.

Page 2 of the assessment record includes a table that indicates the expected level of SCT learning relevant to different roles.

Users are not expected to use every competence in every case. Health professionals should use their professional judgement to use relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide effective care on an individual basis.

The core competences

The core competences in the resource describe the ability to do particular activities in areas of healthcare which focus on supporting people to deal with genetic risk.

In many cases, practitioners are sickle cell and thalassaemia specialists. The core competences are also relevant for other health and allied professionals, such as genetic counsellors, midwives and health visitors, where an important part of their role is working with those at risk of these conditions.

Launch event

We’re planning a virtual conference on Thursday 28 January (2.30 to 4.30pm) to celebrate the launch of the new resource.

Please email if you would like to join the event or have any feedback that will help us improve this resource when it is next reviewed in 3 years’ time.

Thank you

Thank you to our expert working group members who gave up time from their day jobs to share their invaluable expertise and helped us to produce this educational resource.

PHE Screening blog

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