Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia psychological service

Sickle Cell disease and Thalassaemia are chronic conditions, which have medical and psychosocial implications across the life span of affected patients and their families.

What we do

Psychological interventions can be helpful in coping with the disorder in combination with medical treatment. It can also be helpful for other psychological and stress related issues including depression, anxiety, self-confidence, trauma related reactions, body-image issues and relationship issues that affect the coping with those disorders.

The areas that we support people with include:

  • Dealing with psychological distress (eg. anxiety, depression) .
  • Dealing with worries about current and future life situations.
  • Learning resources for coping with the illness and how to put yourself in control of your illness.
  • Other adjustment concerns.
  • Issues with self-confidence and social interaction.
  • Dealing with Body Image concerns.
  • Understanding how the behaviour affects overall health and life.
  • Learning strategies to alleviate pain.
  • Coping with memory and concentration problems.
  • Screening for other neuropsychological concerns
  • Dealing with fear of needles or blood transfusions.
  • Managing family and relationship problems.
  • Making decisions about treatment options.

In addition to psychological interventions, we also offer Consultation, Supervision and Training to other Health and Allied Professionals and undertake regular surveys and audits for service’s development.


The service offers Psychological Assessments and Therapy for all age patients and their families.

Psychological therapies you may be offered include

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Trauma therapies including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization &Reprocessing Therapy). These interventions are offered as individual sessions or as part of a group/workshop structure. We also organise psycho-educational groups and workshops on specific themes such as developing compassion and resilience.  

We often have trainees/assistance psychologists on placement who take an active role during interventions.


After you are referred to the SC&T Psychology Service, you will be offered a Psychological Assessment which includes a clinical interview and completing some questionnaires. The Psychologist will listen to your concerns and discuss with you whether a course of psychological sessions is likely to be helpful as well as your goals for therapy. You will then agree on a Therapy Plan. The sessions may be offered to yourself and/or to your family.

Appointments are available both at Queens’ and King George Hospital.


  • Psychological Assessments and Treatments for all age patients and their families.
  • Psychotherapy and Psycho-Educational Groups and Workshops (including Pain Management).
  • Consultation and Screening for Neuropsychological concerns.
  • Consultation and Training for Health and Allied Professionals.
  • Research and Development.

Meet the team: Ioanna Ampati

Ioanna Ampati BSc (Hons), Dip.Psych., MSc, PPDip, CPsychol, AFBPsS

Psychological Service Lead, Highly Specialist Psychologist, HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist

Clinical Health Psychological Services


Ioanna Ampati was qualified as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist in 2004. She completed all her training (undergraduate, post-graduate and professional training) in London and has worked for NELFT since 2002.

She has worked in a variety of NHS clinical settings including primary and secondary psychological services, CAMHS, older adult and memory services, rehabilitation settings and learning disability teams. For the past 10 years, she worked as a Senior Psychologist in an Adult Psychological Therapies Service (Step 4 care services) offering therapy interventions but also Adults and Older Adults placements to both clinical and counselling psychology trainees.

In November 2013, Ioanna started working at the Haemoglobinopathies Service at BHRUT (Queen’s and King George’s Hospital) as a Highly Specialist Psychologist. She set up the Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Psychology Service for adults, children and their families. She provides psychological assessments and evidence-based interventions as part of a regular psychology clinic. She also provides consultation and training to nursing and medical staff of the Haematology &Oncology services.

Ioanna is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the “British Psychological Society” and a Registered Practitioner Psychologist with the “Health & Care Professions Council”. She is also a member of the “UK and Ireland EMDR Association” and the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA).

Her main orientation is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Third Waves Psychological Therapies including Mindfulness for Health & MBCT and ACT. She is also a trained EMDR practitioner.

Ioanna has conducted a number of research projects and is carrying out regular audits and surveys for service development’s purposes.

Specialist Interest

  • Psychological aspects of haematological disorders including sickle cell and thalassaemia.
  • Body image and self-confidence.
  • Caregivers’ burden and relationship issues.
  • Illness perception and adjustment from chronic physical health problems.
  • Training, consultation and supervision for health professionals.

Research Interests

  • The psychological impact of haematological disorders.
  • Quality of life of patients and caregivers.

Meet the Team: Raizel Fernandes

Raizel Fernandes is currently working as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist at the Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Psychology Service at Queen’s Hospital for 1 day per week. She previously held a similar post within the Eating Disorder Service (NELFT) and Integrated Care Psychological Service (ICPS) in Waltham Forest. She attained her Master’s in Clinical Applications of Psychology from Kingston University. Subsequently, she worked as a teaching assistant for a special school and gained experience with children, adolescents and adult clients experiencing psychological, health, social problems and challenging behaviour.

Contact our service

We have an established morning clinic on Tuesdays at King George Hospital and a clinic on Wednesdays at Queen’s Hospital.

We also offer additional psychology sessions on other days by arrangement.

The service is open to all age patients (and their families) who receive services from BHRUT Haemoglobin Disorder Service.

For a Referral to our Service, please ask your Consultant/Specialist SC&T Nurse at Haemoglobin Disorders Service, Queen’s Hospital,  BHRUT, Tel: 0208 970 8301.

SC&T Psychological Service Venues:

Queen’s Hospital:

Haematology/Oncology Outpatient Department

Rom Valley Way, Romford, Essex, RM7 0AG
Tel: 01708 435360

King George Hospital:
The Cedar Centre

Barley Lane, Ilford, IG3 8YB

Tel: 0330 400 4333

Opening times:Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm

More Information:

The Sickle Cell Society

Provides help and support for people affected by sickle cell disorders and their carers.

Tel: 020 8961 7795

UK Thalassaemia Society

Provides help and support for people affected by thalassaemia and their carers.

Tel: 020 8882 0011

What patients have said about the SC&T Psychological Service


"The service was a great help and met my expectations”

"Excellent service"


"Everything and everyone was very helpful"


"It made me put things into a positive perspective"

"I was helped to make adjustments in the way I viewed life through informed decisions"

"I would recommend it to anyone"


You can see more feedback from our service users by clicking on the links below

Results of the Friends & Family Survey 2017 [pdf] 264KB

Friends and Family Test feedback Jan 2017 to August 2018 [pdf] 392KB ​​​​​

*What students/trainees on placement have said about the SC&T Psychological Service

 I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work under you for the SC&T psychology service. This placement gave me an insight into the way psychological services are incorporated within healthcare environments, which was very valuable and enlightening. I also want to thank you for your dedication to making the placement what it was, despite the changes in your own team, which I am sure was no easy feat. I wish you the best of luck with your service!” Lara.

Thank you again for being a brilliant clinical supervisor, I've really enjoyed our time together…and I learnt so much from you, so would really welcome the opportunity again!” N.S.