Why the Whittington?

We manage the largest group of people with thalassaemia in the UK and have also built strong academic links.

The Whittington is the clinical hub for haemoglobinopathy services but we work closely with Professor Porter at University College London Hospital, who is a leading researcher in the field of iron overload. Both Dr Shah and Dr Davis at the Whittington completed their MD research projects with Professor Porter and are involved in ongoing research projects at UCLH. Dr Chaterjee at UCLH has taken the lead in establishing a pioneering web-based MSc course in haemoglobinopathies; this is jointly funded by the Thalassaemia International Federation and by UCL.

The Thalassaemia International Federation is also offering support for a fellowship program at the Whittington; this is to train overseas doctors in the management of haemoglobinopathies.

Evidence for the success of our approach

Our network covers three major hospitals. We have reduced in-patient bed days and have made savings for the Trusts involved. Some individuals have made truly dramatic improvements in their lives, having spent far fewer days in hospital and have begun to enjoy themselves again. We have produced simple graphs to demonstrate how well they have done. These graphs have sometimes proven to be the key that unlocked a change in behaviour.

The graph below shows how one young woman’s care was altered. The data vividly demonstrated the deterioration in her health and acted as a catalyst for change; she had not realised how bad things had become. We worked with her to tackle damage to her lungs and significant social issues. The response was dramatic but in line with what has happened to other individuals. In 2007 she had an eight-day admission for a surgical problem. It is not surprising to find that she is now having a much better quality of life.
Working on it!