Screening & Blood Tests

What is Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening?

Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia are genetically inherited blood disorders which can be very serious and disabling.  Screening is the process by which a quick and simple blood sample is taken.  The sample is then sent for testing at a Hospital.

Why is it important?

Screening will identify carriers of Sickle cell or Thalassaemia which allows an individual to access information and advice, creating access to service beyond services offered by the NHS, promoting access and flexibility and a culturally sensitive service targeting hard to reach communities who are at risk of inheriting Sickle Cell or Thalassaemia Blood Disorders.

When considering on planning a family for the future it allows the individual to have an informed choice.  Non-directive genetic counselling is offered pre and post screening.

If you and your partner are carriers you may be at risk of having a child with Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassaemia Major.

Carrier Frequency in the United Kingdom


Sickle Cell


West Africans

Punjabi Sikhs

White British

1 in 10

up to 1 in 4

1 in 100

1 in 1000

C Trait



1 in 30

up to 1 in 6

D Trait Punjabi Sikhs 1 in 100





White British

1 in 7

1 in 10-30

1 in 30

1 in 50

1 in 1000

Extract taken from College of Royal Physicians 1989

How is it done?

  • Pre-counselling session – About Sickle Cell/Thalassaemia and the process for screening.
  • A small sample of blood is taken from the arm.
  • Personal details are obtained e.g.; Name, Address, Date of birth & GP.
  • The sample is then taken safely to City Hospital for testing in the Hematology Department.
  • Your G.P, specialist nurse and OSCAR Sandwell will receive a copy of the results.
  • OSCAR Sandwell will follow up your results if you request them to do so.

Can anyone be tested?

Yes! Sickle cell disease and Thalassaemia are genetic disorders that affect anyone.  They occur predominantly in African, African-Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean populations.  Rare cases have been found in North Europeans; in the main however, sickle cell and Thalassaemia occur in people of non-North European origin.

Where can you be screened?

An appointment can be arranged through our office with a trained Counselor. Blood can be tested at:-

  • Sandwell & West Birmingham Health Care Trust (City Hospital)
  • our own Local G.P.

If positive result

i.e.; If you are identified as carrying Sickle Cell, Thalassaemia or any other unusual gene:-

  • A card will be issued stating your results.
  • A hospital appointment will be sent for you to see the consultant hematologist and/or specialist nurse.
  • Your G.P will be informed.
  • The hospital will request for your family to be screened. (optional)
  • OSCAR will be involved in your care to offer counseling / further information and advice.

If negative result

i.e.; you are not affected by these disorders:-

  • A card will be issued stating your result
  • Your details/results kept on OSCAR records.
  • Family tested (optional)
  • G.P informed of results.
  • Further information.