NHS Race and Health Observatory appoints sickle cell expert

The NHS Race and Health Observatory is pleased to announce the new appointment of a medical advisor to explore sickle cell inequalities in NHS healthcare delivery.

Dr Carl Reynolds, a consultant respiratory and general internal medicine physician at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, will join the Observatory from December 2021.

Predominantly affecting people with African or Caribbean heritage, sickle cell disease is characterised by unusually shaped red blood cells that are produced which can cause serious health issues across the body, sending organs into ‘crisis’ and causing extreme levels of pain which may need hospitalisation.

The new appointment will further support work on the Observatory’s priorities to tackle ethnic health inequalities through evidence-based recommendations for change. It also coincides with a new report out this week – ‘No one’s listening’, from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia and the Sickle Cell Society.

As a key priority, Dr Reynolds will review evidence that contrasts sickle cell care with other rare genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and examine how robust sickle cell care patient pathways can be provided by the NHS. This contribution will support research, insights and practical interventions to level-up geographical variation in sickle cell care across the country.

The work will also propose strategic policy recommendations for sustainable change including ensuring access to evidence based treatment options such as Crizanlizumab, a drug to prevent recurrent sickle cell crisis, which was approved by NICE and NHS England this month.

Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“I am delighted that Carl is joining the Observatory at this pivotal time. Inequalities in healthcare experience and variability in treatment for people living with sickle cell, highlighted in the latest report from the Sickle Cell Society and All-Party Parliamentary Group, are unacceptable and need concerted focus.

“This report sadly exposed a worrying shortfall in adequate care and treatment for sickle cell patients, namely the late Evan Nathan Smith and others, who have not received the care that they so critically needed and have prematurely and tragically died.