The 25th International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) Congress was held in London at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in June. Over 4000 delegates attended the conference, including members of the Imperial Transfusion team, to hear talks on all aspects of transfusion practice and network with transfusion colleagues from around the world.
A new theme for Congress this year was the role of the Transfusion Practitioner. The Transfusion Practitioner role has been established in the UK for over 15 years with 3 Transfusion Practitioners (known as TPs) in post at Imperial. Whilst a similar role is in place in some countries (sometimes known as Transfusion Safety Officer, Haemovigilance Officer, PBM Practitioner/Nurse), many countries have not yet adopted this practice but are looking to introduce it. Rachel Moss, Imperial Transfusion Practitioner, who has been in post for over 12 years, was asked to both present at ISBT and represent the UK on the ISBT Clinical Working Party. The working party aims to bring together clinical expertise in blood transfusion from many different countries, with Rachel’s remit to promote the role of the TP internationally.
To give insight into the role, Rachel presented at congress alongside equivalent colleagues from Australia and The Netherlands who all talked about the TP role within their own country. Rachel's presentation focussed on the history of the TP role, how the role is undertaken across the UK and the underlying patient safety message.
In addition to this, Rachel and a colleague from NHSBT were also asked to organise a working breakfast for TPs attending the conference. Over 48 TPs attended from over 8 countries and even with the early morning start (7.30 am on a Sunday!) the feedback from the session was very positive. The breakfast provided an informal setting for TPs to talk to peers and experts in Transfusion over a coffee and croissant about important issues for Transfusion Practitioners. Wherever in the world you work in blood transfusion there are always common themes.
Rachel will continue to represent the UK at ISBT and promote the role of the TP as an essential part of any hospital transfusion set up, showing the benefits to both patients and staff in the safe and appropriate use of blood.
For further information about the role of the TP and the ISBT working party contact Rachel.Moss@imperial.nhs.uk