New project to blood group genotype all patients living with Sickle cell disease, thalassemia and rare anaemias launched by NHS England and NHS Blood and Transplant

Classification: Official

Publication reference: PR00479


  • Integrated care board:
    • chief executives
    • chief medical officers
    • public health leads
  • Trust chief executives
  • Regional:
    • primary care leads
    • health inequality leads
    • chief nurses
    • medical directors
  • NHS England:
    • specialised commissioning leads
    • pathology network
    • lead healthcare scientists

Dear colleagues,

NHS England is funding NHS Blood and Transplant to deliver a new blood group genotyping programme. The purpose of this programme is to provide a more detailed genetic understanding of the blood groups of all patients in England living with inherited anaemias, including Sickle cell disease, thalassemia and rare anaemias. This will enable people to receive better-matched blood for even safer transfusions when coupled with the similar work that NHS Blood and Transplant will be doing with the donor population.

All patients living with these conditions will be offered the opportunity to opt into this programme from Summer 2023.

We will share more information, including information leaflets and guidance, as well as an outline of the testing process and the handling of results, as soon as possible. In the meantime, further information about the project is available on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

NHS England has provided this significant investment as part of its commitment to tackling inequalities in access, experience and outcomes for people living with these conditions, and the ambitions outlined in the NHS England genomics strategy.

NHS Blood and Transplant will use its unique infrastructure to scale up new services for the wider NHS and deliver a world-class programme by ensuring blood group testing and transfusion practice is informed by the latest scientific and technological advances.

We ask that you highlight this new project with the relevant people in your teams so they are ready to implement the guidance as soon as the project starts collecting samples, so that collectively we can deliver benefits for patients as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact molecular.diagnostics@nhsbt.nhs.uk

With our grateful thanks for your help and support.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Dame Sue Hill,  Chief Scientific Officer, England, Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics, NHS England 

Professor Bola Owolabi, Director of National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement, NHS England