Patients are referred to general haematology by GPs and hospital doctors.

Patients are most commonly referred after having abnormal blood tests that suggest there might be a blood or bone marrow disorder or following an abnormal blood count (a test to check the types and numbers of cells in your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets).

What is anaemia?

Anaemia is a condition in which the body has fewer red blood cells, or have less haemoglobin in the red blood cells, than normal. Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues and organs throughout the body and enable them to use energy from food. With anaemia, red blood cells carry less oxygen to tissues and organs (particularly the heart and brain) and those tissues and organs may not function as well as they should.

Other contact information

We have a dedicated telephone line open to patients from 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday (apart from Bank Holidays).

The haematology telephone line: 020 3447 7359

Out of hours advice (emergency calls at evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays):
0785 2220 900

You should call this number if you wish to relay a message to or speak with your Consultant Nurse Specialist.

You should also call this number if you’d like to:

  • Confirm an appointment
  • Cancel an appointment at short notice
  • Ask about investigations and the timing of
  • Speak to a member of the Research Team
  • Discuss any other queries.

Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells.

Anaemia of chronic disease (ACD), sometimes known as anaemia of inflammation, is the second most common form of anaemia worldwide and is seen in a variety of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune conditions and infections.

When kidneys are diseased or damaged, they do not produce enough of a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). EPO tells the bone marrow to make red cells. As a result, the lack of EPO causes the bone marrow to make fewer red blood cells, causing anaemia. When blood has fewer red blood cells, it deprives the body of the oxygen it needs.

Pre-operative anaemia can significantly affect how successful surgery is for a patient. Anaemia is an independently predictive risk factor for surgery related complications and death.

If you are having a surgical operation at UCLH you may be sent to the general haematology clinic to be tested for anaemia. This will allow the team to perform investigations that aim to identify the cause of the anaemia and potentially correct it before your operation.

Abnormal blood counts (platelets and white cell count)

In addition to anaemia you may be found to have another abnormality in your blood count. This is found using a blood test called a full blood count (FBC). This is a test to check the types and numbers of cells in your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

This can help give an indication of your general health, as well as provide important clues about certain health problems you may have. You may be found to have an abnormal blood count. This may be any of the following:

If you have this condition you will be seen on the Red Cell Unit. Patients with a specific type of polycythaemia (polycythaemia vera) will be seen in the myeloproliferative disorders (MPD) clinic.

Depending on which type of white cell is reduced it can be called neutropenia, lymphopenia or eosinopenia.It can be due to many causes that can be both benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous).

Depending on which type of white cell is increased it is called neutrophilia, lymphocytosis, eosinophilia, monocytosis or basophilia.

This may make you bruise or bleed easily. There are various causes.

This is due to disorders which affect cells in the bone marrow which make platelets. It can potentially increase the risk of cardio or cerebrovascular disease and blood clots.

Many people referred to these clinics worry that they have cancer. This will be true for some people, but most of patients referred to the general clinic do not have cancer.

Often additional investigations are required to help to make a diagnosis. These may include additional blood tests, x-rays, scans and a bone marrow biopsy. Once the results of the investigations are obtained, many patients will be discharged from the haematology clinics. However, some will need further investigation and treatment in a different clinic specific for the type of illness that has been diagnosed.