HC Deb 09 April 1986 vol 95 c119W
Mr. Wheeler

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to sponsor research into the prevention and treatment of sickle cell disease; and what special initiatives the National Health Service has commenced in major cities to provide special screening and counselling facilities.

Mr. Whitney

The Department has recently funded a number of projects on disorders of haemoglobin, such as sickle cell disease. One, carried out at St. Batholomew's hospital, London, was concerned with the development of reference materials for the determination of haemoglobins. Another, at the Manchester Royal infirmary, was on evaluation of diagnostic kits for use in the identification of sickle cell. In addition, the Department is funding a national haemoglobinopathy reference service at Oxford.

Other work is being funded by the Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid from the science vote of Department of Education and Science.

We fully accept the need for screening and counselling facilities but their organisation must be a matter for individual health authorities taking full account of local needs and priorities. Information about such programmes is not collected centrally.