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Change to NHSBT pricing of products in 2017/18 and introduction of universal screening for Hepatitis E

Due to a prolonged drop in demand for blood and a need to invest in IT systems which should unlock future efficiencies, NHSBT is having to increase the price of blood charged to hospitals.

21st December 2016

Due to a prolonged drop in demand for blood and a need to invest in IT systems which should unlock future efficiencies, NHSBT is having to increase the price of blood charged to hospitals.

At the same time, SaBTO (the committee which advises UK ministers and health departments on appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood cells, tissues and organs) has recommended that NHSBT tests all blood donations for Hepatitis E, moving from a selective strategy.

For this reason the price of red blood cells will increase on 1 April 2017 by 3.7% (£4.46) per unit (from £120 to £124.46 per unit).

The unit price of blood in 2017/18 incorporates a charge for implementing universal hepatitis E virus (HEV) screening of all components after April 2017. The cost of universal screening to the NHS in 2017/18 is no greater than the overall cost of the provision of HEV screened blood components to selected patient groups during 2016/17.

Since the end of 2011/12, NHSBT has seen a reduction of 18% in the demand for blood (vs forecast demand for 2016/17), and over this time we managed down the price of red cells to a price of £120 per unit in 2016/17 (vs £124.85 in 2011/12). This change in pricing has been confirmed with the National Commissioning Group for Blood (NCG) at the Department of Health and also at the NHSBT Board.

NHSBT is very aware of the challenging financial climate in the NHS and has consulted with hospital customers about the price change and worked closely with SaBTO on this safety initiative. Due to the continued drop in demand for blood the total cost of blood to the NHS in England will still decrease by about 1.8% and the blood products provided by NHSBT will continue to be some of the safest in the world.