Successful use of a charity to transport blood samples and blood components between a district general hospital and the national health service blood and transplant Birmingham
The transport of blood components are required to meet stringent standards as set out by the Blood Safety and Quality Regulations (BSQR) 2005 based on the 002/98/EC and 2004/33/EC European directive. In UK the blood components are provided by NHSBT which also provides the transport for these products. Such a standard transport of blood component has a significant cost implication to NHS. Moreover hospitals will have to rely on courier services to send urgent referral samples to NHSBT which adds additional cost to NHS. This is further compounded by the fact by some blood component such as platelets which has a short shelf life unlike red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma. Some charities are keen to help in the delivery of health care systems and we present this abstract in collaboration with Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes. Aim: The main was to create a robust and validated system for transport of blood components and urgent samples to NHSBT using the volunteers from the charity who use the motor bikes for this purpose. The challenge was to ensure full adherence to the BSQR 2005. Methods: After the expression of interest from the charity various meetings were held between the Hospital Transfusion Team and charity leadership to complete the feasibility. Advice was sought from the trust legal and governance team as well as professionals from NHSBT and blood bank managers from this region. A clinical risk assessment was completed and once the safety and feasibility was established we embarked on the validation of the transport boxes. Clinimed UBP-110 & UBP-130 boxes were selected for validation. The acceptance criteria for red blood cell is that the blood surface temperature was maintained between 2C and 10degreeC for up to 4 h and 20-24degreeC for platelets. Once the validation was completed we embarked upon a training programme for all volunteers on the charity. A well structured programme was developed which includs annual training on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and 2 yearly training and competency assessment on safe transport of blood components, spillage management, security breach and delivery and collection arrangements. Results: We have successfully established a transport system for blood and blood components between our hospital and NHSBT Birmingham. There are 36 competent volunteer riders who have been trained and an on call rota has been established by the charity to provide an uninterrupted service. While we still use NHSBT blue light service for urgent deliveries the SSBB charity has taken over 75% of the adhoc deliveries. In the last 6 months the charity has so far completed around 90 deliveries to and from NHSBT Birmingham saving more than 5000. Conclusion: This is a novel project with a charity that is not costing any money and providing a safe transport system. We are the first hospital in the west midlands region to do this novel project and this project has helped to develop processes and systems that can be copied by other NHST Trust and charities.