Blood Diseases: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the vulnerability of people living with (a) beta-thalassaemia, (b) sickle cell disease and (c) other haemoglobinopathies; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England, as part of its response to COVID-19, has worked closely with the Haemoglobinopathy Coordinating Centres (HCCs) across the country to provide an expert clinical panel to understand, assess and inform on the effect of COVID for patients with beta-thalassemia, sickle cell disease and other haemoglobinopathies. The HCC teams formed an HCC COVID-19 specific group to meet weekly from 20 April.

The HCC COVID-19 group are now able to collect real time COVID-19 specific data which has found that patients with haemoglobinopathies were affected by COVID-19. This was found to be in older patients and with other medical conditions, and was fully explored and published by the group. Further information is available at the following link:

https://haematologica.org/article/view/haematol.2020.259440

In response to the pandemic the clinical services have adapted the delivery of clinical practices to support patients safely. One example of this has been achieved through redesigning outpatient appointments to run through virtual clinics. The teams have been able to stay in touch with patients providing advice and support alongside clinical care throughout this period.

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