We believe that #EarlyDiagnosisSavesLives. On 1st March we launched our largest genetic screening programme to date in Northern Ireland, focused on families in Belfast and Newry.

During March, we will deliver over 30,000 awareness leaflets to households in Belfast postcodes BT5, BT6, BT12, BT13 and BT15 and in Newry in the BT35 postcode area (shown on the maps below in dark green).

Each leaflet explains the condition and provides details of how to order a free home genetic testing kit. We expect a strong uptake, based on our experience of previous programmes in Derry-Londonderry and Carrickfergus.

Bill, aged 66, from Belfast was diagnosed when two of his sisters tested positive for the condition. “If the condition was better known, with both GPs and the public, people would know what questions to ask. An early diagnosis can save the pain and ill-health that often follows a delayed diagnosis. As the treatment is regular blood donation, this condition can have benefits for other people, too.”

In partnership with the Belfast Telegraph, we'll be offering NI residents outside the free screening areas the chance to order a test kit for just £89 (a 25% saving) before 30 April. Use voucher code BELTEL23 here.

Our screening programme includes a press campaign plus social, paid search and out-of-home poster campaigns. Look out for our digital billboards at bus stops in Belfast and Newry w/c 7 March. 

Julie, aged 43 from Belfast, had never heard of genetic haemochromatosis before a chance diagnosis – “I had COVID-19 twice in 2020, and thought that the symptoms I was experiencing - such as brain fog, joint pain and muscle pain - were part of ‘long Covid’. So it was a huge surprise when I was diagnosed with genetic haemochromatosis.”

We'll be using the screening results in our research programme, building upon soon-to-be-published research which shows that up to 1 in 10 people are at risk of GH in Northern Ireland.

We have a couple of events coming up in March - everyone is very welcome to come along!

  • Newry - at Canal Court Hotel on 14th March from 11.30am
  • Belfast - at Europa Hotel on 15th March from 11.30am

For further details on these and all our online events, check out our website.

Chief Executive of Haemochromatosis UK, Neil McClements said: “Early diagnosis saves lives – and every diagnosis starts with public awareness. This cross-community project is bringing people together to raise awareness of the symptoms of this common, but treatable, genetic condition.”

Belfast screening area


Newry screening area

This initiative has taken over a year to plan and fund. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Ulster Garden Villages Common Fund, Enkalon Foundation,  Esme Mitchell Trust, NIE Networks Staff Foundation, our Friends Against Iron Overload and the O'Hare family in Newry, who lost father Tony to the condition in 2018.