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IBTS launches 2002 Annual Report

8% increase in donations over 2001

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service launched its 2002 Annual Report today (Thursday) at the National Blood Centre, Dublin. Speaking at the launch, Acting Chief Executive Andrew Kelly said that the priority of the IBTS was and continues to be the continuous supply of safe blood and blood products to patients in Irish hospitals. "In 2002, we had unprecedented levels of support from existing and new donors with an increase of 8% in donations on 2001.

"While this level of increased support from the public is very welcome, we continue to seek new and return donors, particularly at this time of year, when there is traditionally a decline in the number of donations. In fact, demand continues to increase and already in the first 6 months of this year, there has been a 4% increase in the amount of blood issued to hospitals. This increases the pressure on the blood supply, requiring new and innovative initiatives from us to provide for patients' needs.

"In September 2002, the publication of the Lindsay Report highlighted the failures of the BTSB in the past and its shortcomings in response to the emerging threat of HIV, which contributed to the infection of eight persons with Haemophilia and one recipient of a blood transfusion. The IBTS regrets those failures and regrets all death and injury caused by products that were supposed to bring a better quality of life to people but which regrettably did the opposite.

"Shortly thereafter, the International group of experts appointed to review the decision on single site testing reported to the Board on their findings. The Board worked through the implications of the eleven recommendations contained in that report. The Board accepted the recommendation that testing, including Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), should be carried out in Dublin and Cork," said Mr Kelly.

National Medical Director, Doctor William Murphy added that this was the first time in several years that the use of blood transfusion in Irish hospitals had risen.

"In particular, the requirement for platelets rose sharply in 2002, reflecting an increase in haematology activity. The introduction of solvent detergent plasma to replace the use of Irish plasma during the year, was also a key part of the strategy adopted by the Board to reduce the risk that might exist of transmitting vCJD by transfusion," said Dr Murphy

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