IBTS publishes 2009 Annual Report

IBTS publishes 2009 Annual Report

Slight increase in demand for red cells in 2009

The IBTS today (Monday) published its annual report for 2009. Chairperson Katharine Bulbulia said: "The IBTS recognises and acknowledges the loyalty of our donors and this loyalty enabled IBTS to maintain a consistent blood supply that met patient needs. In 2009, 95,858 donors gave blood, an increase of 307 over 2008."

Chief Executive Andrew Kelly said tha tthe drive to achieve efficiences and reduce the cost base was a priority in 2009. "The IBTS will continue to work on further cost savings and reducing prices to our customers. This will inevitably lead to significant change of work practices and how the organisation carries out its business if we are to realise those savings.

"During the summer of 2009, a lot of energy was focused on preparing for the flu pandemic, and while the pandemic was not as severe as anticipated, it was a beneficial exercise. It provided the IBTS with an opportunity to revisit many of the deferral criteria for donors and also to stress test our contingency arrangements, which had been designed for different purposes.

"The IBTS also established a presence on facebook in 2009, which acquired 10,000 fans, or likes within 8 months. Facebook allows the organisation to interact with our target audience in a positive and proactive way. The page is used to answer queries and dispel myths about giving blood in a timely manner.

"In November, we renewed our partnership with Vodafone, which gives us 1 million free texts a year and plays a vital role in enhancing our donor communications, thereby maintaining the blood supply."

IBTS Medical & Scientific Director Dr William Murphy said that while a test for vCJD seemed imminent in 2009, the new technology did not prove itself in field trials.

"The prospect of a test has unfortunately receded for the time being. The IBTS did introduce another measure to further reduce the risk to recipients, the replacement of a component called cryoprecipitate, made from Irish plasma, with a product made from US plasma.

"In addition, the first clinical safety assessment of a filter for red cell transfusions to remove any infectious prion protein was completed in CUH. Further assessment of this new filter was also carried out at Cavan General Hospital. The decision to introduce this measure into general use now rests with the Department of Health and Children, who have sought a detailed assessment of the technology from HIQA."

The IBTS Annual Report is available on line in .pdf format at www.giveblood.ie


For further information contact Mirenda O'Donovan