Blood management

The European Commission has produced two new guides about blood management:

  • Building national programmes of patient blood management (PBM) in the EU – a guide for health authorities
  • Supporting patient blood management (PBM) in the EU – a practical implementation guide for hospitals

To download these guides on patient blood management from the ec.europa.eu website

Safe blood transfusions in Italy

There have been no HIV or Hepatitis infections from blood transfusions in the last 10 years in Italy.

More than three million transfusions of blood components were made in 2015, with 1709 positive cases of HIV or Hepatitis detected in 1691 donors, who were therefore disqualified from giving blood. This screening system ensures the safety of receiving blood and its components.

To read more (in Italian) about safe blood transfusions on the salute.gov.it website

Patient blood management

A 5-year Patient Blood Management (PBM) programme in Western Australia resulted in a 28% reduction in hospital mortality, a 15% reduction in average hospital length of stay, a 21% reduction in hospital-acquired infections and a 31% decrease in heart attack or stroke. There was also a 41% reduction in the use of blood products, leading to a substantial cost saving as well.

PBM is a patient-focused, evidence-based and systemic approach to improve patient outcomes through the safe and rational use of blood and blood products and avoiding unnecessary transfusions. Essential elements of PBM include:

  • preventing conditions that might result in the need for transfusion
  • appropriate diagnosis
  • good surgical and anaesthetic techniques
  • the use of alternatives to blood transfusion and blood conservation.

The PBM approach has been endorsed and promoted by the WHO and is widely accepted as current best practice.

The EU has recently published two guides on Patient Blood Management (PBM), one for authorities and the other for hospitals.

To download the two guides on Patient Blood Management from the ec.europa.eu website

Evaluation of Blood, Tissues and Cells legislation

EU legislation on quality and safety standards for blood, tissues and cells has been in place for more than a decade and in view of the changing landscape – greater use of technology, more disease outbreaks, and a more connected world – the Commission is going to evaluate whether this legislation has achieved its original objectives, is still fit for purpose, or whether there are gaps to be filled.

There will be a public consultation later in 2017 and the final report should be published in 2018

For more information about the process of evaluating blood, tissues and cells legislation on the ec.europa.eu website

 

Tracing donated tissue and cells

The EU has recently launched a Coding Platform to support healthcare professionals and national authorities in tracing donated tissues and cells from donor to recipient in the entire EU. The EU Directive on standards for quality and safety of human tissues and cells sets standards for tissues and cells such as bone marrow, reproductive cells, corneas, skin, etc., that are used within the EU and which will be identified by a Single European Code (SEC).

This SEC is an important tool for better patient safety as it enables the tracing of tissues and cells along the supply chain – from the donor to the patient receiving it. In case of a quality or safety issue, it allows appropriate action, including – where necessary, withdrawing or recalling all tissues and cells from the same donor, to be taken quickly. The EU Coding Platform contains information on all 2800 tissue establishments authorised in the EU as well as categories of tissue and cell product codes. It provides users with a free, simple and efficient tool, to build their SEC for a tissues and cells product, and takes into account the needs of small-sized and not-for-profit tissue establishments.

For more information about the Single European Code on the webgate.ec.europa.eu website

Hepatitis – the “silent killer”

Hepatitis is often called the silent killer because globally 95% of people with hepatitis are unaware of their infection as most sufferers show no symptoms.

Over 13 million people in the European Region are estimated to be living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and over 15 million with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. More than 400 people across the WHO European Region die from causes related to viral hepatitis every day.

Hepatitis B and C usually occur as a result of blood-to-blood contact with infected body fluids: for example, from blood transfusions or invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment. They can also be transmitted through sexual contact, although this is less common with hepatitis C.

There is an action plan to address viral hepatitis in the WHO European Region and eliminate it as a public health threat by 2030.

To read more about the plan to eliminate viral hepatitis on the euro.who.int website

Human blood, tissues and cells

The European Commission has published two reports on the implementation of EU legislation which sets standards of quality and safety for both human blood and human tissues and cells.

According to the legislation, donations of human blood, tissues and cells should be voluntary and unpaid and all EU countries have taken measures to encourage this, although what is considered compensation and incentive vary between Member States.

The reports also point to some gaps and difficulties in applying and enforcing the rules. For both sectors, these difficulties relate to such things as the protection of donors, the inspections framework and testing and deferral criteria for new epidemiological and technological developments (eg testing for Malaria).

For more information, including links to both reports, on the ec.europa.eu website.

Improving organ donation across Europe

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Council of Europe, along with 8 other partners are supporting the ‘ACCORD’ project which has involved 23 European countries. “Achieving Comprehensive Coordination in Organ Donation throughout the European Union” is a Joint Action coordinated by the Spanish National Transplant Organisation and aims to narrow the inequalities in organ donation by:

  1. Enhancing the protection of living donors by improving information systems and through common standards.
  2. Promoting deceased organ donation by facilitating the cooperation between critical care       professionals and donor transplant coordinators.
  3. Sharing practical knowledge, expertise and tools by implementing practical collaborations among countries – through a “twinnings” initiative.

For more information about ACCORD, click here on www.accord-ja.eu

New EU rules on human tissues and cells increase patient safety

The Commission has adopted two sets of rules for human tissues and cells to protect patients in the EU by ensuring high quality and safety standards.

The first set of rules set out the technical requirements that will facilitate tracing of all tissues and cells between donor and recipient. This will happen through a so-called ‘Single European Code’ and a Commission-hosted IT-platform to ensure uniform labelling of all tissues and cells distributed in the EU. In the case of a safety alert, this label will ensure that all recipients who received material from the same donor can be traced and treated as needed. It will also allow for unused tissues or cells to be discarded.

The second directive covers imports and sets out procedures for ensuring that tissues and cells imported from third countries meet the same safety and quality standards as those procured, processed and distributed in the EU. These rules will ensure the safety of EU recipients in need of tissues and cells, regardless of the origin of the material.

For more information, click here on http://ec.europa.eu

Europe takes a common approach to blood

The European Union has agreed a common approach to facilitate comparisons between data sent to the Commission from member states on adverse events and reactions to blood and blood components.

These guidelines should reduce the burden of reporting by clarifying issues before data is collected each year.

To read more about the guidelines, click here on www.ec.europa.eu