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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to make virally inactivated fresh frozen plasma available to patients requiring blood transfusions. [129995]

Most United Kingdom fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is not virally inactivated. High levels of safety are achieved by using leucodepleted blood from single donors, by screening out potential high risk donors and by testing every unit of donated blood for the presence of infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C before it is released to hospitals.The decision taken to import FFP from the United States for young babies and children born after 1 January 1996 will provide additional protection to the most vulnerable group, who will not have been exposed to BSE through the food chain. The National Blood Authority is currently involved in negotiating for supplies of FFP for this group of patients. This FFP will be virally inactivated and its planned availability is later this year. A commercially produced virally inactivated FFP product, sourced from the United States, is also available for the national health service to purchase.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent evidence he has received concerning the risks to patients associated with the transfusion of blood plasma. [129996]

The sixth report (2001–02) on the serious hazards of transfusion was published on 17 July 2003. The report provides an updated analysis of serious transfusion hazards in the United Kingdom. A copy of the report and summary findings is available at