§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to institute an inquiry into the incidence of sickle-cell anaemia among the ethnic minority communities.
§ Dr. Vaughan
I do not consider that such an inquiry would serve a useful purpose. Information on the groups at risk is already considerable. Screening of high risk patients prior to anaesthesia is a general practice. Routine screening of all pregnant patients from the high risk groups is undertaken and all patients found to have one of the variants of sickle-cell disease are booked for delivery in consultant obstetric units. Many hospitals serving at-risk communities offer screening facilities on request either from individuals or their general practitioners. Couples found to be at risk of having an affected child may be referred to genetic counselling services.