The Joint United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services and National Institute of Biological Standards and Control Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) has two distinct remits:
- To prepare detailed service guidelines for the United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services.
- To be an Advisory Committee to the United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services, normally by reporting to the Medical Directors of the individual Services who are themselves individually accountable to the Chief Executives of the Services. Decisions on policy and implementation would be vested in the individual Chief Executives and their Service boards and, where appropriate, their respective Health Departments.
The remits of JPAC have always been in close relationship of the regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the world.
Legal framework and regulation
From November 2005 the countries of the UK must operate their blood and tissue services, as well as important aspects of hospital transfusion services, under the legal requirements of the Blood Safety (and Quality) Regulations, 2005. For the Blood Services, the Acting Competent Authority under the Regulations is the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). MHRA regulates the Services according to its interpretation of all relevant legislation.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) is responsible for ensuring appropriate regulation of tissue services. EU Directives on human tissues will also soon be translated into UK Law. Additionally, the Human Tissues Act will become law in England and Wales in 2006, while a somewhat different act will apply in Scotland. The Human Tissues Authority will, from 1st April 2006, be the UK Competent Authority for Human Tissues and Cells under the terms of European Commission Directive 2004/23/EC.
Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO)
The Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) provides policy advice to Ministers in the 4 countries of the UK on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion / transplantation. Its remit includes providing independent advice on the microbiological safety of gametes and stem cells and risk management options for Ministers and UK Health Departments to consider.
It meets about 4 times per year and receives information from many sources. SaBTO does not address non-microbiological safety issues, nor does its present remit cover the efficacy, effectiveness or clinical use of blood products and tissues. The committee is currently under review by DoH. Much of the detailed evidence on which SaBTO deliberates is the result of work by Blood Services staff and the JPAC Standing Advisory Committee on Transfusion Transmitted Infections.
Further details on these and other relationships can be found in 'Chapter 1 of the UK BTS Guidelines' or on the SaBTO website www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/acsbto/index.htm