Haematology is the clinical speciality involved in the diagnosis and management of patients with blood-related disorders.
Haematologists are dual trained in both laboratory medicine and clinical haematology. They therefore have the advantage of being able to see patients as well as review their blood and bone marrow down the microscope.
Newcastle is the largest provider of specialist clinical haematology healthcare for patients in the North of England and we receive referrals from all over the region.
Consultation and treatment is available to anybody who lives in and around the North of England and highly specialist care can also be offered to those with more complex conditions from anywhere in the UK.
We treat approximately 1000 new patients every year and many more patients come to see us regularly for longer term treatments.
Working closely with colleagues in our 24/7 run laboratories on both hospital sites, we provide a full range of services for the diagnosis and management of patients with all types of blood disorders, including cancers of the blood. The regional haematopathology diagnostic service is also located at the RVI.
Our nationally-recognised diagnostic and research laboratories and our extensive links with the Newcastle University and Northumbria University, including undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes, are vital to providing a first class clinical service.
Expertise in blood disorders
Our clinicians are highly experienced in their fields of haematology and are renowned internationally for their clinical expertise and research to help develop new treatment regimes.
Specialist treatments available include red cell exchange, chemotherapy, administration of coagulation factors, bone marrow transplant, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T cell) therapy and the collection, storage and transplantation of bone marrow and blood stem cells.
Our haematology department is organised into disease-specific teams:
Royal Victoria Infirmary team
The clinical haematology service at the RVI is the base for the Regional Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre which looks after patients from all over the Northern region and beyond with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders, as well as the Regional Specialist Haemoglobinopathy Service. The team also liaises with paediatric haematology services based in the Great North Children’s Hospital.
The team gives specialist advice on haemostasis and thrombosis and other aspects of non-malignant haematology disorders including bleeding and thrombotic disorders, and red cell disorders, and also runs general haematology clinics including new patient, obstetric haematology and thrombosis clinics.
They frequently review patients with colleagues at the Freeman Hospital, and also provide specialist advice to other clinical teams for patients who have developed haematological problems.
The Northern England Haemato-oncology Diagnostics Service (NEHODS) is also based at the RVI. We provide integrated specialist haematology cancer diagnostics including bone marrow biopsy reports, cytogenetics and flow cytometry.
Freeman Hospital team
The team at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital focuses on the management of malignant haematological disorders.
Patients who need to be admitted to hospital are cared for on Wards 33, 34 and 35. Here we carry out stem cell collections and provide apheresis, chemotherapy and other supportive infusions. We also have a day unit – Ward 36 – where we review our patients.
The department is also home to the Northern Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant – a commissioned centre for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T cell) therapy
We also contribute to the safe running of the haematology and transfusion laboratories on both hospital sites as well as reporting blood films, bone marrow biopsies and providing interpretive comments on a wide range of haematological investigations.
Normal blood is made up of a mixture of blood cells and chemicals including proteins and water. The blood cells are mostly made in the bone marrow and have many different functions.
Red blood cells deliver oxygen around the body. Low numbers of red blood cells cause anaemia and can make you feel tired and short of breath. High levels are unusual but can be found in some blood diseases.
White blood cells help to fight off infections. Low levels of white blood cells can be associated with an increased risk of infection. High levels are usually caused by the body trying to fight off infections, though sometimes happen for other reasons.
Platelets are tiny cells which help the blood to clot if you are bleeding. Low numbers might make you more prone to bleeding.
Blood chemicals include blood clotting proteins which work with platelets to help the blood to clot if you are bleeding. A reduced amount of these chemicals can cause bleeding disorders such as haemophilia.