Health & Wellbeing
JM | Nov 23, 2020

Blood Bank under probe after irregularity claims

/ Our Today

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The National Blood Transfusion Service in Kingston (Photo: nbts.gov.jm)

Following reports and information made public regarding alleged irregularities at the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS), Health & Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the operations of the Blood Bank.

The Blood Bank has responsibility for the collection, testing and distribution of all blood and its byproducts distributed across Jamaica.

Last week, reports surfaced in sections of the media of claims that donor blood positive for HIV and other STDS is being dispatched to patients, equipment has not been cleaned in a timely manner and that donor blood is being wasted.

“The reports of irregularities at the Blood Bank have come to the attention of the executive management at the Ministry of Health & Wellness and we are deeply concerned and have asked that an investigation be conducted immediately,” Tufton said in a release.

“The report of a process error, in particular is of great concern, however, the Ministry would like to reassure the public that no contaminated blood product was issued, arising out of this.”

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton

Additionally, Tufton noted that the National Blood Transfusion Service continues to process blood products using international standards and best practices and that the process to ensure that safe blood products are provided to the population is very detailed and includes screening of all blood for infectious markers. This process is carried out every time blood is donated, even if by a repeat donor.

“The Blood Bank is a critical part of the public health system even as we continue to combat COVID-19 and the public can be assured that the donation and receipt of blood products is safe and is needed for the treatment of several disorders,” Tufton said.

“We are urging the public, especially during this season, when trauma cases, in particular, increases, to make it a priority to donate blood.”

The transfusion of blood and blood products has saved thousands of lives in Jamaica and, last year, the Blood Bank collected close to 35,000 units.
The ministry is expected to get a report in the coming weeks and said it would address any concerns and/or recommendations that arise from the findings of the investigation.

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