JPAC Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee

General Principles

These guidelines apply to donors giving whole blood or blood components (red cells, platelets, plasma and granulocytes) for therapeutic use.

Donors are selected firstly to ensure that they do not come to harm from giving their donation and secondly to ensure that their donation is unlikely to harm any recipient. The ultimate responsibility for the selection of donors rests with the respective National Medical Director.

The immediate responsibility is with the Qualified Healthcare Professional in clinical charge of an individual donor session. When it is not clear from these guidelines if an individual donor is suitable, no donation should be taken until it has been discussed and agreed with a Designated Clinical Support Officer.

Only persons in good health should be accepted as donors. The prospective donor must be evaluated for their fitness to donate on the day by a suitably qualified person who has undergone appropriate training to use this document to select or defer donors. They must verify their assessment by signing the donation record.

Special note must be taken of the content of the Blood Safety Entry in the A-Z Topics.

It is the responsibility of session staff to ensure that donors clearly understand the nature of the donation process and the associated risks involved, as explained in the available literature. The donors must also understand the health check and other medical information presented to them. Donors are asked about confidential aspects of their medical history, hence great care must be taken over privacy and confidentiality. This means that third party interpreters can only be used as described in the A–Z Topic entry on Communication Difficulties.

Where there is separate guidance for Whole Blood and for Component donors, this is made clear. When there is a recognised risk to either the donor or the recipient, the guidelines must be followed.

The following terms may be used:

Also Known As
Lists alternative names for the topic entry.

Lists any other terms which may be covered by the Guideline.

Where additional clarity is required, a definition is provided.

This will indicate how the donor must be dealt with by the use of several terms:

Must not donate
The donor must not donate if any of the statements apply to them, unless a discretion clearly applies. Often the deferral will depend on time related factors. If this is the case, the donor must be advised clearly when they will again become eligible to donate. If the deferral is not time limited (ie. it is likely to be permanent) the donor must be clearly advised why they cannot donate.

Refer to a Designated Clinical Support Officer
Is used when there is a need to seek further advice. The Designated Clinical Support Officer is a suitably trained person authorised to undertake this task by the National Medical Director or their nominated deputy.

Gives reasons why a donor may be permitted to donate. The statements are conditional. All statements that must be fulfilled come before the final statement that they may be accepted. If the donor fulfils these requirements, as well as all others that apply, then they can be accepted.

Means that the specified A-Z Topic entry must be consulted.

See if Relevant
Is used when an A-Z Topic entry may or may not need to be consulted, depending upon the information provided by the donor.

Additional Information
This provides background information as to why any particular action is required.

This provides specific information as to the status of the guidance (e.g. required by the Blood Safety and Quality Regulations).

Update Information
The information here shows in which edition and release of the guidelines that this advice first appeared in its current form.

Reason for Change
This provides the background to any changes made to the entry since the last Edition or Release.

Some or all of these terms may be used under each subject heading or sub-heading.

Autologous Transfusion.
These guidelines do not apply to donors wishing to give their blood for Autologous Transfusions. Specific guidelines should be referred to eg Transfusion Medicine 1993, 3, 307-316.

Non-Therapeutic Donations.
Donors whose serum, plasma or cells will be used for laboratory, rather than therapeutic, purposes are generally subject to the same medical selection criteria. However, some decisions regarding their suitability to donate may be varied by a Designated Clinical Support Officer.

Therapeutic Venesection.
Patients referred for therapeutic venesection must not be accepted at donor sessions. The exception is donors with haemochromatosis. They may be accepted after referral to, and consideration by, a Designated Clinical Support Officer.

This section was last updated in WB-DSG Edition 203, Release 01

Last updated 11/09/2013