Who we are
The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service exists to fully supply the needs of all hospitals and clinical units in the province with safe and effective blood and blood products and other related services. The discharge of this function includes a commitment to the care and welfare of our voluntary donors.
It is an independent, Special Agency of the Department of Health and is responsible for the collection, testing and distribution of over 55,000 blood donations each year. The Service operates three mobile units at nearly 180 locations throughout the province. Including headquarters, located on the site of the Belfast City Hospital, a total of almost 800 donation sessions are held each year.
Due to a phenomenal response, we are unable to accept any more donors for the Plasma trial.
Following the announcement on Friday that we were to pause the collection of Convalescent Plasma, we are delighted to say that we have been given permission, by the Department of Health, to continue to collect CP for a further six weeks from Monday 25<sup>th</sup> January.
Last week, collection of convalescent plasma was paused following the interim results of the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials. These trials showed no benefit to patients receiving plasma in hospital care. However, both trials are still analysing whether plasma could benefit a subgroup of these patients.
International trials are also testing if plasma helps people when it is used much earlier in the disease, before people are hospitalised. Early use could help some of the most vulnerable people in our society such as the elderly or those undergoing cancer treatment. There’s already some evidence showing this could work and a similar UK trial is now being discussed. Restarting collection quickly will ensure as much plasma as possible is available should one of the trials show a benefit for this patient group.
NIBTS has been involved in the collection of convalescent plasma since July and has already provided the treatment for 346 people in Northern Ireland. We are currently not asking for any more donors to come forward as over 3500 people have already registered to become plasma donors. We will therefore be concentrate our resources on collecting plasma from these people.
Anyone who feels that they still need to contribute can still do so by being a whole blood donor. For more information about blood donation please visit this website or to book an appointment call 08085 534 666.