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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 8 Projects

Enabling patients with Genetic Haemochromatosis to donate blood with the Welsh Blood Service

Elisabeth Davies

Welsh Blood Service, Velindre NHS Trust

Project Background:

Genetic Haemochromatosis (GH) is the most common inherited disorder in Wales, and 1:150 of the population have this condition.

In people with GH, the body absorbs an excessive amount of iron from the diet. Accumulation of iron can cause chronic fatigue, painful joints and organ damage if left untreated. Early treatment for these individuals is simple and involves regular venesection (removal of approximately one pint of blood). This is usually performed in a hospital clinic and is the same process as blood donation.

Project Aims and Objectives:

  • Enable recruitment and optimise retention of donors with GH, where clinically appropriate and based on blood donor eligibility criteria.
  • Generate data to monitor impact of recruitment on blood stock levels in WBS.
  • Produce clearly defined pathways for hospital and Welsh Blood Service (WBS) staff to appropriately manage GH donors.
  • Engage with patient and public to improve the service we offer to individuals with GH in Wales.

Project Outcomes:

A database of all patients with GH was established for CTM UHB. Of all patients currently attending RGH, 72% were identified as being eligible to enrol as blood donors, with eligibility in PCH 56% (average of 64%, total of 153 patients). A total of 91 new GH donors were enrolled across Wales during this project.

Project Impact:

Geographical location of eligible patients has enabled WBS to target areas in need of blood donation clinics Cost benefit analysis of potential savings for CTM:

Data from the HUK survey suggests 78% would like to become donors, equivalent to 120 individuals from CTM UHB. Annually, this would provide 520 additional units of blood for WBS.

Impact for CTM UHB Clinical Haematology annually:

  • 260 hours chair time released for other patients
  • 130 staff hours released
  • 312 Kg less incinerated waste
  • £5925 cost saving (based on audit of staff grade performing venesection)

Key Conclusions:

In 2023, WBS suffered a 42% reduction in new blood donors and issued blood stock alerts to hospitals for 16 weeks. Recruiting donors with GH will help address this problem

Extrapolating data from CTM UHB across all health boards in Wales suggests potential for 4380 additional red cell units for WBS annually (5.6% of total blood requirements of Welsh Hospitals).

Potential All Wales savings:

View the project poster and slides from the Cohort 8 Bevan Exemplar Showcase