The multi-stakeholder Blood and Beyond initiative recently published a policy briefing shedding light on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects blood use, blood transfusion services, and patients in whom transfusions are clinically indicated. The paper provides suggestions to address the challenge and depicts why Europe needs a co-ordinated vision on the future of blood use more than ever, focusing in particular on the shift to optimized management of the patient’s own blood – a concept known as patient blood management (PBM) and endorsed by the WHO.
Released ahead of the 21 May 2021 European Commission-Italian G20 Presidency Global Health Summit – aimed to discuss learnings from COVID-19, healthcare systems strengthening and multilateral cooperation – the paper offers policy-level recommendations that have been developed by a pool of experts from the fields of haematology and blood management, nursing and patient advocacy, including TIF’s Executive Director, Dr Androulla Eleftheriou.
The briefing covers the implications of COVID-19 and responses from the sector with regards to blood supplies, demand, transfusion care – with a focus on the situation of patients with chronic anaemia, where the majority of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions is used.
Blood services, a crucial component of all healthcare systems, have been profoundly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, pre-existing challenges in blood sustainability have been amplified. The pandemic underlines the necessity to rethink blood use in Europe and creates an additional impetus for reconsidering policy frameworks in place, current clinical practices, education as well as research & data collection efforts; and reveals the potential of alternative, innovative approaches notably the vital importance of PBM implementation across Europe.
It emphasises why rethinking blood use should be a priority for Europe, with policy recommendations on how to bring about long-term change that will improve patients’ access to safe and appropriate care. As a priority, policymakers, public health authorities and healthcare providers urgently need to change their focus towards patient-centric PBM.
The current revision of the EU Blood Directive provides a unique opportunity to help deliver on these goals. The Blood and Beyond paper brings evidence and expert input to support the legislative process, highlighting priorities to optimise blood management and transfusion for patients with chronic diseases post-COVID-19.
Read the Blood and Beyond COVID-19 policy briefing HERE
Blood and Beyond is a multi-stakeholder initiative, developed and funded by Celgene, now part of Bristol Myers Squibb, involving experts from the fields of haematology and blood management, nursing, patient advocacy, health economics and hospital management.
For more information about Blood and Beyond, please visit: www.bloodandbeyond.com