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‘In a climate of casual racism, terror attacks and Brexit, it’s hard to discuss but the Pakistani community must accept these findings.Yes, these conditions can happen to white British people, too, but Pakistanis are more likely to be affected because of generations of inbreeding.Dramatic as this picture is, the true overall figures could be higher still, as our data does not include statistics from London’s Great Ormond Street, which deals with some of the most complex cases.The number of children treated there for genetic disorders has jumped by a third in five years.
We obtained our figures through Fo I requests, asking children’s hospitals to break down the number of patients they have seen with genetic disorders by ethnicity. They show that in Sheffield, for example, 20 per cent of affected children are of Pakistani descent compared with a background population of four per cent.Officials admit it is impossible to calculate the cost of treating these problems, but there is no doubting the extraordinary scale of the expense, which even in 2004 was estimated at £2billion a year.Today that figure will be substantially greater still, as hospitals diagnose an ever broader range of conditions and new treatments become available.Scientific studies over at least three decades have linked first-cousin unions to an increased risk of genetic disease.Yet it remains discussed only with extreme reluctance.
In Glasgow, the proportion is about 18 per cent, even though Pakistanis account for 3.8 per cent of the local population.