NHS Blood and Transplant launch new strategy

NHS Blood and Transplant has launched a new strategy covering the next four years, from 2022 to 2026.

The strategy details how the organisation will modernise its operations, improve its use of data, as well as how it plans to respond to emerging technologies and consumer trends. It states plans to build integrated datasets, utilise analytics and genotyping to better match blood donors and patients, and develop supporting algorithms.

The paper notes that ‘currently over 800,000 people donate blood’, however ‘at least 5,000 blood donations are needed every day to meet patient need’. Alongside that, NHS Blood and Transplant highlights that 30 million people recorded a donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, but 2000 more organ transplants are also needed every year.

Setting out five strategic priorities, NHS Blood and Transplant aims to ‘grow and diversify’ its donor base to meet clinical demand and reduce health inequalities; modernise operations to improve safety, resilience and efficiency; drive innovation to improve patient outcome; collaborate with partners to develop and scale new services for the NHS; and invest in people and culture to ensure a high performing, inclusive organisation.

It acknowledges the full potential of digital technologies and how it can modernise its operations and technology by investing in core IT platforms and systems to ‘improve resilience’ and ‘use of data to improve performance’ and ‘limit exposure to cyber-security threats’.

Where possible they are striving to automate end-to-end processes to improve the user experience and deliver efficiencies, as well as adopting an integrated approach to diagnostics and testing.

The organisation also states it will focus on performance by using benchmarking, data and analytics, as well as international best practice.

In the publication, they also outlined how they will build upon and invest in data and genomics to improve overall outcomes and reduce health inequalities by ‘using genotyping to better match blood donors and patients’, ‘develop algorithms to match it’, and ‘undertake clinical trials to show how it works’.

Adopting genotyping technology, the organisation said it will enable better matching for multi-transfused recipients, and stem cells and organs for transplantation. By having more accurate matching, it will lead to better clinical outcomes, the organisation said.

To further this aim, in April 2022, five new Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) will commence research on blood donation, organ donation and transplantation, data-driven transfusion practice and many more.

The BTRUs are said to provide the NHS with the ‘capacity to test new technologies and methods’, as well as exploring ‘high quality data to drive implementation into practice’.

To read the full strategy, please click here.