The Willink Biochemical Genetics Unit

The Willink Unit is the main centre in the North West of England for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with paediatric inherited metabolic disorders. With six consultants as well as junior staff, the Unit is able to provide a 24 hour service for patients with inherited metabolic disease. The service is supported by a team of specialist metabolic dietitians led by Fiona White, Lead Specialist Dietitian and by the Lead Nurse for the Unit, Gill Moss.

Close integration of laboratory investigation and clinical management within the Unit has led to the development of a specialist service aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of inherited metabolic disease by early diagnosis and appropriate management.

Out Patient Service

Specialist clinics are held in the Unit on a daily basis. Patients with a wide range or disorders are seen in either consultant led or joint consultant/dietetic clinics.

Patients whose treatment involves specialist dietetic management are seen in one of three weekly (am) joint dietetic/consultant clinics. Specialist clinics include a weekly PKU clinic, monthly glycogen storage disease clinics and three monthly clinics for children with Glut 1 deficiency syndrome.

Regular clinics are held in conjunction with the renal team from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, these clinics being attended by both a metabolic consultant, a consultant paediatric nephrologist and specialist metabolic dietitian. The Unit also has close links with the Leeds Paediatric Liver Unit and twice yearly clinics are held in Manchester, these clinics are attended by Dr Patricia McClean, Consultant Paediatric Hepatologist.

Patients whose management does not involve dietary treatment are seen outside of these clinics.

Peripheral Clinics

The consultant team also provides a paediatric metabolic service for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool and Bradford and Airedale Hospitals in Yorkshire and at Newcastle Royal Infirmary. The clinic at Alder Hey Hospital is held once a week. The Bradford clinics are held three times per week at St Luke’s Hospital. Clinics are held at Airedale Hospital and Newcastle Royal Infirmary approximately four times per year. An on call service is also provided to cover Alder Hey and St Luke’s Hospitals.

In Patient Service

In patient facilities for paediatric inherited metabolic disease patients are provided in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital either in the Elective Treatment Centre (ward 76) or for longer admissions, Ward 85. The Elective Treatment Centre has facilities for both short stay and day case patients. One parent can be accommodated on the ward at the child’s bedside and further accommodation is provided at the newly built Ronald McDonald House on site.

Newborn Screening

Patients diagnosed on newborn screening with amino acid disorders or MCAD deficiency are seen in the Willink Unit on the next working day. Newly diagnosed patients are seen both by a consultant paediatrician and a specialist metabolic dieititan in order to instigate treatment.


Weekly transition clinics are held in the Unit to facilitate the smooth transfer of teenage/young adults to the adult service held at Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Please see Transition pages for further information.


Children with a known or suspected inherited metabolic disorder should be referred directly to the Willink Unit, Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester M13 9WL. Referrals may be faxed to 0161 701 2303. For urgent referrals please telephone the metabolic consultant on call vial the hospital switchboard on 0161 276 1234.

For further information please telephone 0161 701 2137/2138.


Glycogen Storage Disease Association



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