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Public Health (23-09-2005)

Commission takes further steps to ensure blood transfusions are safe

The European Commission has today adopted two implementing measures (Commission Directives) concerning the quality and safety of blood and blood derivatives. One concerns the traceability of blood and blood derivatives, while the other concerns quality standards. The Blood Directive of 2003 established a general framework of principles and common EU rules on blood used in medical treatment. Developing detailed implementing measures to give these effect required a process of consultation and consensus building with government officials and blood safety experts from across Europe. The measures adopted by the Commission today are the result of that process. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said : "Blood, and products derived from it, are essential to modern medicine. But healthcare staff and patients need to be confident the blood they are using is safe. Having common safety standards and safety systems across the EU helps facilitate cooperation between healthcare systems by enabling them to import blood from each other. It also helps give Europeans confidence that wherever they receive treatment in Europe, they will be properly protected from blood born diseases." Day to day quality control of blood and regulation of organisations collecting, processing or storing blood still takes place at national and regional level.

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