31 October 2018

About a year ago, a colleague mentioned the BSH Crucible Prize to me in passing and its subject ‘How do haematologists do most harm to patients?’. I didn’t need to think about this for long - it seemed obvious to me that our management of patients with sickle cell disease needed to be better, to prevent the long-term harm so many seemed to end up with. I had a chat with the fantastic Red Cell team at Royal London Hospital (to make sure they wouldn’t mind me speaking out about this!) and they thought it was a great idea! I did a bit of research, pulled together a short abstract and forgot all about it!

A few months later, whilst on maternity leave, I was surprised and delighted to find out my abstract had been selected for the Crucible Shortlist. As a welcome break from changing nappies and trying to soothe a crying baby, my presentation was written in the evenings once my partner got home from work. Come April, the three of us left my older son with his grandparents, and boarded a train up to Liverpool for the conference.

The other competitors were fantastic and left us all with plenty to think about. Whilst my presentation definitely had fewer jokes than the others, I think it was my passion for the subject that came across to the judges. I was honoured to win the prize, especially given the high standard of competition. Afterwards many people, from medical students to consultants, came up to me to tell me they felt the same way and they were glad I had raised the issue.

Since then, BSH has started discussions with many in the sickle cell community to see what they can do to improve the lives of our patients with sickle cell disease. I have also had the opportunity to write articles based on the subject, and to talk to other healthcare professionals, such as GPs about it. I have also had fantastic opportunities to meet others in the haematology community and to contribute ideas for next years’ conference.

Many in the sickle cell community have been working tirelessly for years to raise awareness of sickle cell disease. I am only a very small part of it, but winning the Crucible prize and being able to highlight the issues around it makes me enormously proud and I hope this can lead to better practice by haematologists and better care for our patients.


BSH Annual Scientific Meeting 2019 - Glasgow

The Crucible Session Tuesday 02 April 13:45 –15:15pm

In its second year, an innovative trainee-led initiative with a £1000 prize.

The aim of this session is to encourage reflection on what we do as haematologists, and why we do it. The theme is "How can haematology change the world?”.

Open to doctors in Training  and all allied healthcare professionals (at any stage)

The five best abstracts are selected for oral presentation, and the trainees will be questioned and judged by a panel of senior haematologists. Presentations will be judge on the quality and originality of their content, presentation skills and response to questions.


Submit up to 300 words on the theme "How can haematology change the world?”

Submit by 5pm on 30 November 2018 

Send submissions to: [email protected]

Download the poster and share amongst colleagues


Read more: ‘Young, Black and Stigmatised’ - Dr Sonia Wolf wins inaugural Crucible Prize

Dr Sonia Wolf - Crucible Prize Winner 2018