23 August 2017


Some areas of England are struggling to ensure pregnant women undertake sickle cell and thalassaemia screening in good time, according to new figures.

Timeliness of screening remains 'an area of concern', according to the Public Health England analysis published last week - although coverage remains above 99%.

Guidance says that at least 50% of women should get screening by ten weeks of pregnancy - and nationally the rate has reached 53.9%.

The latest figures show a steady decline in timeliness may have been reversed.

They also highlight continuing significant problems in achieving timely testing in London. In the first quarter of this year 38% of women underwent screening within ten weeks of gestation.

This was an improvement on last year when fewer than a third of women in London were screened within ten weeks.

London has struggled with the timing issue because some hospitals schedule a range of screening tests at 12 weeks of gestation.

London, however, has the highest coverage of the country - and 99.5% of women underwent screening.

The report shows progress in getting women to complete family origin questionnaires. Targets for this have increased but at 97.6% the proportion of questionnaires completed is at a 'record high' and above the acceptable target of 95%, according to Public Health England.


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