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Friday 15 December 2017

Blood service 'must stay safe' despite cost

THE medical director of the blood service yesterday warned his organisation must introduce new safety technologies, even though funds are tight.

William Murphy of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) said blood safety needed to be managed in a way that reduced the chances of disaster.

The blood service was rocked in the 1990s after it emerged a blood product, Anti-D, was contaminated with Hepatitis C through negligence. Haemophiliacs were also infected with HIV .

In the IBTS annual report, Dr Murphy said since the late 1990s, the blood service here had been an early adopter of new safety technologies.

Last year, however, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) assessed a sophisticated blood filter, costing €11m a year and concluded it was too expensive to introduce.

The filter would remove almost all risk of mad cow disease being passed on to transfusion patients and prevent an estimated two deaths over the next decade.

Dr Murphy said it was essential the blood service could respond to emerging threats and emerging technological advancements "notwithstanding the inevitable associated costs".

Irish Independent

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