NHS Blood and Transplant
|Predecessor||National Blood Service
|Formation||1 October 2005|
|Type||NHS special health authority|
|Region served||England and Wales|
|Key people||John Pattullo (Chairman)
Lynda Hamlyn (Chief executive)
|Main organ||Board of directors|
|Parent organisation||National Health Service|
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority of the Department of Health. It was established on 1 October 2005 to take over the responsibilities of two separate NHS agencies: UK Transplant (now renamed Organ Donation and Transplantation), founded by Dr. Geoffrey Tovey in 1972, and the National Blood Service (now renamed Blood Donation). Its remit is to provide a reliable, efficient supply of blood, organs and associated services to the NHS. Since NHSBT was established, the organisation has maintained or improved the quality of the services delivered to patients, stabilised the rising cost of blood, and centralised a number of corporate services.
NHSBT has the responsibility for optimising the supply of blood, organs and tissues and raising the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of blood and transplant services. NHSBT's roles are stated to include:
- encouraging people to donate organs, blood and tissues
- optimising the safety and supply of blood, organs and tissues (within the NHS)
- helping to raise the quality, effectiveness and clinical outcomes of NHS blood and transplant services
- providing expert advice to other NHS organisations, the Department of Health, Ministers and devolved administrations
- providing appropriate advice and support to health services in other countries
- commissioning and conducting research and development
- actively engaging in implementing relevant EU statutory frameworks and guidance
- being involved in broader international developments
In 2009/10 NHSBT strategic objectives were focused on the efficient provision of a safe and sustainable supply of blood and its components, the identification and referral of more organ donors and the establishment of NHSBT as an effective and responsive organisation, focused on the needs of donors and patients. The year saw a record high in organ donation and transplantation together with an increase in the number of people signing up to donate blood.
The National Blood Service, now renamed Blood Donation, is the organisation for England and North Wales which collects blood and other tissues, tests, processes, and supplies all the hospitals in England and North Wales. Other official blood services in the United Kingdom include the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and Welsh Blood Service.
The service operates out of 15 centres, collects around 2.1 million donations per year and supplies 8,000 units of blood every day. Service directors proposed a reconfiguration and centralisation strategy in 2006, based on the closure of most local processing and testing labs, and subsequent operation out of just 3 large 'supercentres' to serve the same geographical area. Staff are opposed to this strategy and it is now under review. The future organisation of NBS blood processing and testing is still to be agreed.
The service depends entirely on voluntary donations from the public. Originally, blood was collected from various donor clinics located over the country. In 1994, the first mobile session was held in Elstree, hosted by The Joely Bear Appeal. Currently, blood donation sessions are set up throughout the country and take place in many diverse venues, from village halls, workplaces and mobile collection units (known as Bloodmobiles). Donors are generally required to be fit and healthy, weigh 50 kilograms (110 lb; 7 st 12 lb) and aged between 17 and 60. However, regular (healthy) donors are permitted to donate past the age of 60 as long as they remain healthy. Donors are encouraged to give blood up to three times a year (once every 16 weeks). Since February 2012, male donors have been allowed to donate up to four times a year.
Besides the main blood donations, known as "whole blood", platelets are also collected. As platelets can only be stored for a few days, regular and frequent donors are in great demand and that is why platelet donors are asked to attend at least 8 – 10 times per year.
Organ Donation and Transplantation
As one of the two arms of NHSBT, Organ Donation and Transplantation ensures that organs donated for transplant are matched and allocated to patients in a fair and unbiased way. Matching, particularly in the case of kidneys, is so important that donation and allocation needs to be organised nationally. The larger the pool of organs, the better the likelihood there is of a good match.
Unlike some other NHS organisations, ODT do not have a direct relationship with patients and do not provide "hands on" care. However, in providing support to transplantation services across the UK, everything ODT does has an impact on the quality of service delivered to individual patients.
In the 1968 National Tissue Typing and Reference Laboratory (NTTRL) was established at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The National Organ Matching and Distribution Service (NOMDS) was founded in 1972 and the two organisations merged in 1979 to form the UK Transplant Service.
In 1991 the UK Transplant Service became an NHS special health authority and was renamed the United Kingdom Transplant Support Service Authority (UKTSSA). It moved to purpose-built accommodation at Stoke Gifford, in the northern suburbs of Bristol, in 1993. In July 2000, UK Transplant was formed with a new, extended remit to increase organ donation rates. In October 2005 UK Transplant merged with the National Blood Service and the Bio Products Laboratory to form NHS Blood and Transplant.
In 2010, the Bio Products Laboratory became a limited company owned directly by the Department of Health.
NHS Organ Donor Register
The NHS Organ Donor Register is a national, confidential list of people who are willing to become donors after their death. It can be quickly accessed to see whether an individual has registered a willingness to be an organ donor.
- "Minutes of Scrutiny Board". Sheffield City Council. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
- "Male Donation frequency update". NHS Blood and Transplant. 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2013.