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NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SCT) Screening Programme


The NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SCT) Screening Programme is a linked screening programme.  It uses the Family Origin Questionnaire and blood tests, to screen pregnant women (and the baby’s biological father where relevant) to identify those at risk of having a baby with either one of two serious inherited blood disorders – sickle cell disease and thalassaemia major.  People who have these conditions need specialist care throughout their lives.

The SCT Programme gives parents time to consider the options available and make decisions for their pregnancy.

It also screens newborn babies for sickle cell disease as part of the Newborn Bloodspot Programme. This means that babies can be given the best support and treatment from the very start.

Sickle cell and thalassaemia screening e-learning module

Introducing the sickle cell and thalassaemia screening e-learning resource

This unit introduces the SCT e-learning module.

Unit 1 AN and NB screening for sickle cell, thalassaemia and other haemoglobin variants

This unit gives an overview of the linked Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme, highlighting essential elements of the screening pathway.

Unit 2 Understanding haemoglobinopathies

These inherited conditions cause significant health issues around the world.  Understanding how and why they occur; the significance of family origins; and the pathophysiology allows the practitioner the knowledge to support families throughout, and following, the screening process.

Unit 3 About sickle cell disease

This unit explains sickle cell disease in detail, and how to care for individuals with this condition.

Unit 4 About Thalassaemia

This unit explains the significance of thalassaemia syndromes, and how to care for individuals with these conditions.

Unit 5 Informed choice and understanding diverse needs in screening

Screening should be an informed choice.   Making the decision to undergo the blood test is not always straightforward for individuals and may be influenced by a range of personal issues which practitioners should be aware of.

Unit 6 Understanding the screening test and the FOQ

There are some variations in the way that screening is offered throughout England. This unit gives the background to how the screening processes should be conducted.

Unit 7 Understanding antenatal screening results

Following screening, healthcare professionals must be capable of understanding results in order to explain the risks to parents.  This unit provides essential knowledge for practitioners about the screening test and the significance to the pregnancy of parental results.

Unit 8 Communicating and responding to screening results

Practitioners have a responsibility to inform parents about results that are sometimes unexpected, and how this may affect the pregnancy.  This unit highlights how best to communicate these results, and the options available for present and future pregnancies.

Unit 9 Screening the newborn infant

Babies born with a major haemoglobin disorder require lifelong care from parents and professionals.  This unit explores newborn screening results, both carrier and affected, what these results mean, how to deal with them, and the referral pathway for those children who require further investigations or entry to the clinical care pathway.

Unit 10 Toolbox

The toolbox has a summary of all the materials and references provided throughout the e-learning resource.  All web links are correct at time of publication.

SCT Laboratory module

This e-learning module is divided into 3 main sections - part 1, part 2 and a quiz.

Level 1 - the first set of units which feature all the conditions you must detect for the antenatal screening programme.

Level 2 - the second set of units feature more complex conditions. Please note not all the methods are available yet in the e-learning module.

Quiz - The quiz features 20 multiple choice questions relevant to antenatal screening, which you can complete to test your knowledge and print a certificate for your portfolio. Each time you attempt the quiz, you'll be given a random selection of questions. Good Luck!


Crown Copyright 2017.  These are not covered by the Open Government Licence.  Contact for all re-use enquiries


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