Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre celebrates 30 years
The Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre is celebrating 30 years of service. It was the first specialist centre to be established in the UK and opened its doors at Willesden Hospital in 1979.
The service was set up by Dr Misha Brozovic, consultant haematologist at Central Middlesex Hospital, who was concerned at the number of children who were dying as a result of sickle cell disease and a lack of awareness and knowledge amongst the general public as well as the health professionals caring for them.
When Dr Brozovic retired the role of medical director was taken by Professor Dame Sally Davies, who was also a consultant haematologist at Central Middlesex hospital and is now director of Research & Development at the Department of Health. She remains a non-executive director of the Centre. The current medical director is Dr Gavin Cho.
The first specialist nurse, Professor Elizabeth Anionwu CBE, was instrumental in the development of the Brent Centre and was the lead nurse and service director for many years; she has been responsible for the training and education of many health and allied professionals nationally and internationally and influenced the development of other specialist Centres nationwide. The Centre and regional neonatal screening service is now managed by Dr Lola Oni OBE, senior specialist nurse.
The Centre staff includes specialist nurses, doctors, clinical psychologists, social workers and administrative staff.
Services are offered in the hospital and community, covering raising public awareness through campaigns and education; offering testing to the general public; screening and counselling of pregnant women and their partners; screening and counselling of newborn babies in north west London as well as babies living in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire; care of children and adults with sickle cell disease, thalassaemia and related conditions; training and education of health and allied professionals.
(Pictured left to right - Dr Lola Oni, Mayor of Brent Councillor Jim O’Sullivan, Dawn Butler MP and Dr Misha Brozovic)