Background

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which includes the National Blood Service (NBS), UK Transplant (UKT) and Bio Products Laboratory (BPL) are moving in 2008 to a purpose built facility in the Filton area having been based for several decades on the Southmead Hospital site. NHSBT Filton will be one of the biggest blood processing units in the world.

Areas of specialist training at NHSBT:

Therapeutic apheresis. NHSBT Bristol have one of the busiest therapeutic apheresis units in the UK. There are very few apheresis units that undertake therapeutic plasma exchange for both paediatric and adult renal, neurology, immunology, haematology and transplantation plus other departments who are smaller users of this service. The centre also undertakes stem cell collection for the Bristol, Gloucestershire and Taunton areas with accredited laboratories that undertake stem cell processing and storage. The National Cord Blood Bank (NCBB) is due to move to the Filton centre in the near future.

The British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR) is based at NHSBT Bristol which is one of the largest registries in the UK.

Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I) services are provided from Bristol which provides tissue typing support to the BBMR, and the stem cell transplant programme, the only platelet immunology laboratory in England and the only granulocyte immunology laboratory in the UK.

Red cell reference services include not only the Regional Reference Laboratory dealing with auto- and alloimmune disorders of red cells but the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL). IBGRL provide an international serology service and a molecular diagnostics laboratory who undertake genotyping of adults, children and free fetal DNA typing of fetuses for red cell blood groups. The latter two services are international resources and there is limited ability to be exposed to such services in other parts of the country.

There is a large research commitment at NHSBT in many fields of transfusion and transplantation science and medicine. Much of this work in Bristol takes place under the auspices of the Bristol Institute of Transfusion Science.

The assessment and screening of a wide range of donors and donations is coordinated at the Bristol Blood Centre and the nearby UK Transplant. This includes whole blood, platelets, granulocytes, stem cells, lymphocytes, tissues and organs.

SpRs rotating through Transfusion Medicine will be exposed to the local, regional and national structures involved in organising transfusion support for patients including the management of emergency situations and the provision of appropriate blood transfusion support as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer’s National Transfusion Committee and the “Better Blood Transfusion” initiative. They will, on a day to day basis, become well versed with the indications for therapeutic apheresis and the complications of these procedures. They will also have the opportunity to be exposed to the collection, storage and processing of stem cells. All aspects of complex immunohaematology relating to auto- and alloimmune disorders of red cells, white cells and platelets are comprehensively covered at the centre and will be experienced both via supervised reporting, multidisciplinary meetings and hospital based exposure.

There is a purpose built Scientific and Technical Training Centre with on site staff dedicated to education and audit facilitators. Practical courses in transfusion science and medicine are run at the Filton centre including the popular Intermediate Transfusion Medicine course designed for medical trainees undertaking the MRCPath in Haematology.