Screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia in primary care: a cost-effectiveness study

Stirling Bryan, E Dormandy, Tracy Roberts, A Ades, Pelham Barton, A Juarez-Garcia, Lazaros Andronis, J Karnon, TM Marteau

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BACKGROUND Haemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell disease and thalassaemia (SCT), are inherited disorders of haemoglobin. Antenatal screening for SCT rarely occurs before 10 weeks of pregnancy. AIM To explore the cost-effectiveness of offering SCT screening in a primary care setting, during the pregnancy confirmation visit. DESIGN AND SETTING A model-based cost-effectiveness analysis of inner-city areas with a high proportion of residents from ethnic minority groups. METHOD Comparison was made of three SCT screening approaches: 'primary care parallel' (primary care screening with test offered to mother and father together); 'primary care sequential (primary care screening with test offered to the mother and then the father only if the mother is a carrier); and 'midwife care' (sequential screening at the first midwife consultation). The model was populated with data from the SHIFT (Screening for Haemoglobinopathies In First Trimester) trial and other sources. RESULTS Compared to midwife care, primary care sequential had a higher NHS cost of £34,000 per 10,000 pregnancies (95% confidence interval [CI] = £15,000 to £51,000) and an increase of 2623 women screened (95% CI: 1359 to 4495), giving a cost per additional woman screened by 10 weeks of £13. Primary care parallel was dominated by primary care sequential, with both higher costs and fewer women screened. CONCLUSION The policy judgement is whether an earlier opportunity for informed reproductive choice has a value of at least £13. Further work is required to understand the value attached to earlier informed reproductive choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e620-7
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number591
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


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