NHS criticised for excluding sickle cell from list of painful conditions

By The Ligali Organisation | Mon 3 July 2017

Patients and staff involved in treating sickle cell patients challenged the NHS Choices team’s decision to omit sickle cell crises from its list of painful conditions.

NHS Choices the online portal for the National Health Service (NHS) came under fire after sickle cell support groups and their carers across the UK challenged its failure to recognise sickle cell in its list of most painful health conditions.

The article included in its top 20 ailments such as shingles (chickenpox), cluster headaches, frozen shoulder, migraine, gout, stomach ulcers and post operation pain. However, its exclusion of sickle cell, the blood disorder which causes such excruciating, life threatening pain that the The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend patients in crisis are treated with analgesia within 30 minutes is surprising.

Toyin Agbetu, vice chair of Solace, the Sickle Cell support group for City and Hackney said, ‘sickle cell patients are not looking to establish a hierarchy of suffering, but some of the ailments included in this list instead of sickle cell suggest the researcher of this article had a Eurocentric bias. This exclusion of medical conditions that predominantly affect minority ethnic communities provides a good example of why it is so important that sickle cell awareness month events also occur within hospitals. A typical crisis typically includes multiple sites of physical pain exacerbated by stresses on the internal organs and can include migraines.’

NHS Choices: 20 painful health conditions excludes sickle cell

External Links
NHS Choices 20 painful health conditions
NICE Sickle cell disease: managing acute painful episodes in hospital

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