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IBTS and SHB Nominate Experts to International Review Panel on Testing

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) and the Southern Health Board (SHB) have appointed their respective representatives to the International Panel to Review the IBTS’s decision to consolidate donation testing on one site in Ireland.

The IBTS have nominated Professor Tommy Soderstrom, Medical Director of the Karolinska Institute which is the leading Blood Bank in Sweden and the SHB have nominated Professor John David Cash, President of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh and former Medical Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. Professor Soderstrom and Professor Cash will jointly agree the nomination of a third international Expert in Transfusion Medicine who will chair the Review Panel. It is expected that the Panel will meet in February and that their report will be completed within 2 months of their inaugural meeting.

The 3 person Review Panel will examine the decision to centralise testing within the framework of the agreed Terms of Reference (see attached). The recommendations of the Expert Group will be submitted simultaneously to the Boards of the IBTS and SHB.

The IBTS and SHB will consult on the contents of the report before it is presented to the Board of the IBTS for a decision on whether to retain dual site testing or consolidate on one site in Ireland.

The Chairmen of the IBTS and SHB, Micheal McLoone and Batt O Keeffe TD today said that they were pleased that the issue was progressing and they looked forward to bringing the Expert’s Report back to their respective Boards.

Issued on behalf of the IBTS and SHB


To assess the advantages and disadvantages associated with:

Dual site testing and Single site testing Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) organisation, key issues for consideration may include –

Assessing the impact of movement to single site testing on the quality and timeliness of service provided nationally and in the Munster region. In particular evaluating the impact of such change on (a) user confidence, and (b) donor participation in the area;

An assessment and comparison of standards, backup centre roles, and reportage systems of both centres to date;

Examining the impact of single site testing in terms of the removal of a backup system, and the provision of appropriate replacement facilities or arrangements;

Examining the impact of such a change on the ability of the organisation to cater for other possible (demand) emergencies throughout the country, and

Estimating the cost implications, positive and negative, of maintaining dual site testing;

All relevant documents of the IBTS organisation, the Southern Health Board, and other bodies necessary as agreed between the two Boards, should be made available to the review group. Also, access should be provided to all relevant personnel;

The International Expert Group should complete its report within two months of its initial convening and should submit it simultaneously to the Chairpersons of the IBTS and the SHB.

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930