The UKBTS web site is owned and maintained by the Joint UKBTS Joint Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC).
The purpose of this web site when launched on 11th February 2002 was to be a vehicle for publishing the various JPAC publications. This initial core function was soon extended to other aspects of the UK Transfusion and Transplantation activities. Provision of information on best evidence based practice has become an important function and the site aspires to become a communication channel between service providers and service users.
The JPAC site does not provide information specially for Donors. While donors are very welcome to browse the information provided, web sites by each of the National Services are dedicated to provide them with information.
The Joint United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) has two distinct remits:
To prepare detailed service guidelines for the United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services.
To be an Advisory Committee to the United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services, normally by reporting to the Medical Directors of the individual Services who are themselves individually accountable to the Chief Executives of the Services. Decisions on policy and implementation would be vested in the individual Chief Executives and their Service boards and, where appropriate, their respective Health Departments.
Legal framework and regulation
From November 2005 the countries of the UK must operate their blood and tissue services, as well as important aspects of hospital transfusion services, under the legal requirements of the Blood Safety (and Quality) Regulations, 2005. For the Blood Services, the Acting Competent Authority under the Regulations is the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). MHRA regulates the Services according to its interpretation of all relevant legislation.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) is responsible for ensuring appropriate regulation of tissue services. The Human Tissues Act became law in England and Wales in 2006, while a somewhat different act applies in Scotland. The Human Tissues Authority is the UK Competent Authority for Human Tissues and Cells under the terms of European Commission Directive 2004/23/EC.
Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO)
The Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) provides policy advice to Ministers in the 4 countries of the UK on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion / transplantation. Its remit includes providing independent advice on the microbiological safety of gametes and stem cells and risk management options for Ministers and UK Health Departments to consider.
It meets about 3 times per year and receives information from many sources. SaBTO does not address the efficacy, effectiveness or clinical use of blood products and tissues. Much of the detailed evidence on which SaBTO deliberates is the result of work by Blood Services staff and the JPAC Standing Advisory Committee on Transfusion Transmitted Infections.
Further details on these and other relationships can be found in 'Chapter 1 of the UK BTS Guidelines' or on the SaBTO website www.gov.uk/government/policy-advisory-groups/advisory-committee-on-the-safety-of-blood-tissues-and-organs.