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Response to the Infected Blood Inquiry (Langstaff Report)

The Infected Blood Inquiry, established to examine the circumstances in which people treated by national Health Services in the United Kingdom were given infected blood and infected blood products, has now issued its final report.

Dr Gerrard Phillips, Executive Medical Director of the Federation and Dr Mike Jones, Medical Director for Training and Development at the Federation said,

The importance of the Langstaff report cannot be over-estimated. It emphasises factors that have led to many individuals being adversely affected by interventions by doctors. Some of the interventions may have seemed to be appropriate at the time but many were not.

It has been demonstrated subsequently that there have been very misguided attempts to deny that these inappropriate events or the associated consequences occurred. While blood transfusion practice has evolved, it should be known that awareness of blood transfusion, adverse effects of transfusion and alternatives to transfusion are all part of the internal medicine stage 1 and general internal medicine curricula.

In addition, and as emphasised in the report, doctors must always remember that patient safety is paramount, that risk needs to be properly communicated and understood with patients and that doctors have a duty of candour and transparency in all that they do.

The report emphasises that it is incumbent on all postgraduate medical training bodies to ensure that all doctors involved in blood transfusion and/or the use of blood products are properly trained in this.

We would strongly support this and advise that anyone who is involved in the prescription and administration of blood products is aware of up to date practice. Although many trusts and hospitals do run their own training, if this is not available all are encouraged to visit the e-learning for health website about blood transfusion and make sure their knowledge and practice are refreshed.

Please note the following resources: