Epidemiology - NHSBT/PHE Epidemiology Unit

Find out more about the NHSBT/PHE Epidemiology Unit and its work.

Su Brailsford, Consultant in Epidemiology and Health Protection
Katy Davison, Senior Scientist (Epidemiology)
Claire Reynolds, Scientist (Epidemiology)
Rachael Morrison, Scientist (Epidemiology)
Marcus Lawrance, Information Officer (Epidemiology)

Email: epidemiology@nhsbt.nhs.uk

The NHSBT/PHE Centre for Infections Epidemiology Unit (formerly Infection Surveillance programme) was set up in October 1995. The unit provides epidemiological data on blood-borne infections and the associated risk of transfusion to inform donor practices and public health.

Run jointly through NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the Public Health England (PHE) Centre for Infections, the unit aims to collect information about infections detected in blood and non-blood (tissue) donors and transfusion recipients. Data are collected from blood centres throughout NHSBT, the Welsh Blood Service, Irish Blood Service and Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service. Data from Scotland are collected by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS), passed to the surveillance schemes and included in national analyses.

The unit consists of a number of surveillance schemes:

  • Infections in blood donors, monitored through the surveillance of donations tested and the collection of information about infected donors identified.
  • Infections in tissue donors (including stem cell and cord blood donors) monitored in a similar way to blood donors.
  • Reporting investigations into infections in transfusion recipients in England and Wales which forms part of SHOT (Serious Hazards of Transfusion).
  • Infections among antenatal samples tested by NHSBT.
  • Emerging infection, relevant reports from various sources are collated and reported on a monthly basis or as necessary.

Data collected through these schemes help to update risk assessments to identify priorities for changes, or additions, to donor selection guidelines and /or testing protocols in order to ensure the safe supply of blood. The information collected also contributes to our understanding of the epidemiology of blood borne infections, and there is potential for following up infected donors. This could provide additional information to public health specialists working to reduce infections in the general population, through prioritising population groups for interventions and delivery of care.

Data from these schemes are published in our annual and other reports and regularly updated on the gov.uk website.

Please contact us via epidemiology@nhsbt.nhs.uk if you require further information on, or data from, any of our surveillance schemes or reports.