Two new specialist appointments made at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust during September will bring improved care for local sickle cell patients. Dr Elizabeth Rhodes has joined the trust as sickle cell haematology consultant ensuring that patients living with this life-long condition will receive stabilised and consistent care. Dr Penelope Cream has been appointed as clinical health psychologist, a role that is crucial in supporting patients in the management of their condition as well as dealing with the chronic and acute pain.

Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited, life-long disease and is the most common of the hereditary blood disorders. Red blood cells are produced by stem cells within the marrow found inside the bones. Healthy red blood cells are biconcaved discs which can bend and flex easily. In those with sickle cell disease, faulty stem cells produce red blood cells that are crescent shaped. These are rigid, unable to squeeze through smaller blood vessels, and prone to causing blockages that deprive parts of the body of oxygen, leading to periods of intense pain.

Ros Given-Wilson, the trust’s medical director, said: “We are transforming our sickle cell services, working closely with NHS Wandsworth, community nurses and GPs to deliver a multi-disciplinary service with more care delivered closer to patients’ homes. This will mean that only those patients with the most complex healthcare needs will come into hospital.”

Notes to editors

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