Answers received between Monday 28 September and Monday 5 October 2009
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much blood was required for transfusions by United Kingdom medical staff in Afghanistan during July and August. [HL5389]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of blood used by United Kingdom medical staff in Afghanistan for transfusions during July and August was donated by personnel serving in Afghanistan; what proportion was shipped from the United Kingdom; and what problems, if any, have been encountered with the supply of blood and blood products to Afghanistan. [HL5390]
Blood transfusion is delivered to patients as three component parts; red cell concentrate, fresh frozen plasma, and platelets. For routine transfusions, deployed UK military hospitals maintain stocks of these blood products sourced from UK National Blood Service—NBS—donor centres. Blood for transfusion donated by personnel serving in Afghanistan is taken only in extremis through an established in-theatre Emergency Donor Panel—EDP.
Four apheresis platelet units were obtained via the EDP and transfused in July, and none in August. All other transfusions during July and August 2009 were carried out using NBS stocks in the quantities shown below:
July August Red Cell Concentrate 645 477 Fresh Frozen Plasma 560 364 Platelets 78 56
Red Cell Concentrate
Fresh Frozen Plasma
For red cell concentrate, a unit broadly equates to an imperial pint.
During this period, there have been no problems with the supply of blood and blood products to Afghanistan that have led to shortages in-theatre. The Joint Support Chain is aware of the precious nature of blood products and accords them due care and diligence in transit.