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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 18:03 GMT
GP tackles sickle cell anaemia
Dr Jane Logan
Dr Jane Logan was inspired by a patient
The efforts of a London GP to try to improve care for people at risk of the genetic disease sickle cell anaemia have won her the title of Doctor of the Year.

Dr Jane Logan was inspired to set up a screening programme for the potentially deadly disease and other related blood disorders by the tragedy of one of her patients who found out both she and her partner carried the genes for the disease.

Dr Logan and her team hope that by screening patients before they have children they will be in a better position to decide whether to proceed with a pregnancy, or possibly to opt for state-of-the art genetic technology to weed out rogue embryos.

She told BBC News Online: "We need to give people information before they get pregnant so that they are then in position to make use of the really wonderful scientific advances that are now becoming available."

All patients aged 15 to 45 at the Mawbey Brough Health Centre in Vauxhall are now offered screening. One third are thought to be at risk from the disease.

The surgery has also tried to raise awareness of the disease by placing information at local hairdressers and contraceptive outlets.

African origin

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetically inherited disease which affects blood cells' ability to carry oxygen.

The disease is most common in people of African origin, but also affects people from South and Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and East India.

Dr Robert Thomas
Dr Robert Thomas was named Hospital Doctor of the Year
It can lead to acute chest pain, anaemia, palpitations, bone wasting, painful swelling of hands and feet, strokes, an enlarged spleen and other infections, such as meningitis.

There are a variety of treatments for the disease, including strong pain-killing drugs.

Research published by Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine in 1998 suggested that people suffering from sickle cell anaemia feel they are not being listened to by the medical profession.

The research found that sickle cell patients are often either given too high or too low a dose of drugs because hospital doctors fail to take their views about their symptoms into account.

The debate was re-opened earlier this year by Labour MP Jane Griffiths, who told the House of Commons that racial prejudice may be holding back research into the disease.

Dr Logan was named doctor of the year in the 2000 Vision awards run by Doctor, a newspaper for GPs.

The award judges said: "With the unravelling of the human genome Dr Logan's practice is developing skills which will be widely applied in the future."

Hospital doctor of the year

Dr Robert Thomas, from the Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, was named Hospital Doctor of the Year in a competition run by Doctor's sister title Hospital Doctor.

Dr Thomas and his team were praised for their work with patients and their families to help them understand more about cancer.

They made a video for Asian cancer patients which has been produced with cash from the government's New Opportunities Fund.

Dr Thomas was also nominated for website giving information about cancer to both doctors and patients.

Click here to see Dr Thomas' website

The site links patients to a total of 16 cancer care units across the country.

More than 120,000 people currently log on to the site every month and numbers are growing.

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See also:

06 Mar 00 | Health
Racism claim on blood research
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