Ensuring an uninterrupted service at the end of the EU exit Transition Period
The Transition Period (TP) will end on 31 December 2020. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care to develop plans that ensure uninterrupted service and to prepare for all potential outcomes of negotiations.
NHSBT collects blood from donors in England and does not export or import outside the UK for the vast majority of red blood cells, platelets and plasma. We import and export small numbers of rare red blood units for specific patients.
The vast majority of the UK’s organ transplants are carried out with organs from UK donors. In 2019/20, the UK received just 13 organs from deceased donors in the EU and sent only 13 organs from deceased donors to the EU.
In preparation for the end of the TP, NHSBT has sought assurance from our suppliers on their ability to maintain supply. We have considered any actions that we may need to take to help ensure supply and services to hospitals, including facilitating the movement of blood components and movement of samples to and from hospitals affected by any port congestion.
NHSBT remains fully involved in the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS planning arrangements and is a part of NHS England and NHS Improvement arrangements for response.
Centres working in the sector
Hospital transfusion laboratories should continue to interact with us as they do now and should not change their stockholding of blood or blood components, unless contacted specifically to change arrangements such as delivery times to respond to local circumstances.
Hospitals should expect that NHSBT will operate as normal, including arrangements for reference services. Tissue products and stem cells should continue to be ordered and requested as normal, and we request that hospitals do not stockpile tissues.
Transplant centres should expect NHSBT to operate in the usual way with current allocation schemes being used to allocate organs. NHSBT is liaising with the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to ensure that appropriate agreements are in place with EU organisations to help ensure the continued movement of organs after 31st December 2020.
Other functions provided by NHSBT supporting blood, tissues and organs, such as red cell reagents, reference diagnostics and therapeutic apheresis services, will continue as normal.
If you have additional concerns or questions, please direct these through your local Hospital Customer Services Manager.
We would also encourage you to liaise with the representative from your Trust on your Local Resilience Forum, who will be reviewing existing business continuity plans in light of the end of the Transition Period.