HC Deb 04 June 2003 vol 406 cc488-9W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's policy in using US-sourced, virally inactivated fresh frozen plasma for transfusion patients. [115756]

Ms Blears

The Government announced on 15 August 2002 that fresh frozen plasma (FFP) will be obtained from the United States for new-born babies and children born after 1 January 1996 as an added precaution against the theoretical risk of vCJD transmission. This announcement is in line with advice from the United Kingdom expert advisory committee on Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissues for Transplantation, and is designed to protect the most vulnerable group who will not have been exposed to BSE through the food chain.

The US FFP will be obtained after screening out high risk donors and then further testing every unit for the presence of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. As an added precaution, the US FFP will also be subject to treatment with methylene blue to further reduce the risk of transmission of blood borne viruses.

The National Blood Service is currently involved in negotiating for supplies of FFP for this group of patients and plans to have it available later this year. A commercially produced FFP product, sourced from the US, is also available for the national health service to purchase.

Forward to