Tissue Supply Chain

NHSBT Tissue Services is unique in the UK in controlling the whole supply chain of tissue from initial donor referral through to issue to surgeons within the NHS. Tissue Services operates two tissue supply programmes, the living donor programme and the deceased donor programme. With respect to the former, the tissue banked in the largest volume from living donors is femoral heads from primary hip replacements. In this case, the bone is a by product of surgery, however, all aspects of its collection, packaging and storage are strictly controlled by link nurses in the operating theatres who have been fully trained and audited, and who strictly follow 'standard operating procedures' issued by Tissue Services.

With the deceased donor programme, the initial step is the referral of a potential donor to our referral centre, where a team of specially trained nurses is available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The nurses ensure that the consent for donation complies with all the regulatory and legislative requirements and that the donor�s medical and behavioural history is acceptable for the tissue to be used for transplantation.

The next stage is tissue retrieval. This is carried out by our own skilled teams who use sterile, and where possible disposable instruments and employ a surgical aseptic technique to remove tissues from the donor. All retrievals are carried out by our own staff or directly supervised by our staff. This ensures a high degree of control over the retreival technique and the instruments being used, essential to ensure the quality of tissues and minimise the risk of cross-infection.

Once retrieved, the tissue is transferred to our facility in Liverpool using temperature controlled transport. Here it is processed and banked. Once all of the quality control checks have been carried out and found to be acceptable, the tissue grafts are made available for issue. Grafts are issued to surgeons in the UK on a first come, first served basis. Transportation of the grafts is controlled according to strict temperature requirements, to ensure safety and quality.

By controlling the whole of the supply chain from referral of the donor through to issue of the final graft, Tissue Services can guarantee the highest safety and quality standards throughout the whole process, thus minimising risk to patients.

National Order Line:
0845 607 6820

National Fax Line:
0845 607 6819

Tissue Services

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