European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis comments on World Blood Donor Day 2018, urging young people to step forward and donate blood in order to keep the blood banks “constantly replenished”.
In a statement on World Blood Donor Day 2018, Andriukaitis said: “Let us remember that blood is the lifeline that connects us and that we all have a pivotal role to play in donating blood to help save lives.”
He explained that blood transfusions are “a vital medical intervention used worldwide to treat a wide variety of disorders, both in emergency and non-emergency settings”.
The majority of these disorders can be life-threatening without a timely blood transfusion, which is why, he stressed, “the immediate availability of safe donor blood is paramount”.
The evaluation of the EU legal frameworks on blood, tissues and cells found that the majority of the respondents consider that the legislation had made blood, tissues and cells safer in the EU.
However, they also find that the legislation is not up-to-date with scientific, technological, epidemiological or societal developments and that the process of updating is not flexible or quick enough to adapt to them. They also believe that some requirements might be missing or are inadequate, among them:
- Inadequate provisions for the protection of the living donors;
- Lack of requirements to ensure quality of blood, tissues and cells, as opposed to safety;
- Lack of demonstration of safety and efficacy in the recipient;
- Absence of provisions for ensuring sufficiency of supply.
To read more about this on the European Commission website, go to: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-specific-archive-issue.cfm?archtype=specific&newsletter_service_id=327&newsletter_issue_id=8412&page=1&fullDate=Mon%2023%20Apr%202018&lang=default
The open public consultation evaluating the EU legal frameworks on blood, tissues and cells has found that that the majority of the respondents, who included both individual citizens and various groups, such as professional societies, donor and patient organisations and national authorities, consider that the legislation had made blood, tissues and cells safer in the EU.
Most respondents find that the legislation is not up-to-date with scientific, technological, epidemiological or societal developments and that the process of updating is not flexible or quick enough to adapt to them. They also believe that some requirements might be missing or are inadequate.
To read the evaluation in full go to: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-specific-archive-issue.cfm?archtype=specific&newsletter_service_id=327&newsletter_issue_id=8412&page=1&fullDate=Mon%2023%20Apr%202018&lang=default
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.