News Archive

In this section we are going to keep relevant news and press releases, please check regularly for updates.

24th July 2009

NHSBT reduces prices for cardiovascular tissue grafts

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Tissue Services are significantly reducing the price of their cardiovascular tissue grafts. These reductions are a result of a continuing drive to increase efficiencies within their state of the art Tissue Bank.

The purpose built National Tissue Bank in Liverpool, opened in 2005, is the largest in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. All stages of the process from donor evaluation and obtaining consent, through processing, testing and storage to clinical release and delivery of allografts are managed by NHSBT Tissue Services. This means that you can be assured of high allograft quality and timely deliveries for patient treatment within orthopaedics, burns, ophthalmology and cardiovascular departments.

The facility also includes a research and development department. This integral, very active department ensures that new processes and services are continually introduced to support improved tissue repair and replacement therapies for patients.

These superb facilities have enabled NHSBT Tissue Services to expand existing donation programmes and instigate new ones. For heart valves, the primary goal has been to increase the number banked in the UK, aiming to address the ongoing problem of limited availability of certain types and sizes of valves.

NHSBT Tissue Services are now able to pass the savings produced by these initiatives to their customers. From August 1st 2009 there will be a price reduction of 18% on heart valves and a new pricing structure for arteries based on the length of graft required.

For further information on the tissue graft product range please contact or 0845 607 6820. Alternatively you can visit the website at

July 2009

New Tissue Banking Book Published

A new book on Cell and Tissue Donation, co-edited by Tissue Service’s own Ruth Warwick, has been released. The book focuses on the donation-related aspects of tissue banking, which are often neglected in more technically orientated publications. Entitled ’Tissue and Cell Donation: An Essential Guide’, the book is published by Wiley-Blackwell, priced at £59.99 and is available from selected bookshops.

Tissue Bank Staff Awarded NVQs

Twenty members of staff from Tissue Services Liverpool are celebrating after gaining an NVQ Level 2 qualification in Performing Manufacturing Operations. Clive Ronaldson, Director of Patient Services for NHSBT, presented staff with certificates during a special awards ceremony held in Liverpool on 7 July. Helen Gillan, Head of Operations for Tissue Services, who has herself been awarded an NVQ Level 5 in Management, put forward the qualification to staff during earlier induction sessions. The 12-week course was specifically chosen due to the relevance of the topics covered to the work of Tissue Services. Tissue Services Staff in Leeds and Edgware will shortly be starting the course and it is expected that by October this year, all Tissue Services assistant and technician level staff will have successfully completed the qualification. Speaking after the presentation, Helen Gillan commented: "This is a great achievement especially as they are the first group within NHSBT to have completed this qualification. I believe it’s important to invest in my staff and felt this was an ideal opportunity for them to take that vital first step in their careers."

High Acclaim for Theatre Staff

Theatre Staff at the Queens Hospital in Burton on Trent have been given their hospital’s ’Team of the Year’ award for their voluntary participation in Tissue Service’s live bone donation program. This program is vital to ensure that sufficient bone graft is donated to meet the requirements of UK surgeons, especially for use in hip revision surgery. It relies to a great extent on the voluntary participation of nurses and surgeons across the country. The team at Queens Hospital is especially noteworthy, as Tissue Service’s Katie McKenna explains: ’In most hospitals, pre-op staff will deal with management of consent from donors for hip replacement. The thetre staff at the Queens Hospital have taken on this responsibility, as well as the responsibility for ensuring the grafts are collected, ensuring that as many grafts as possible are donated. They throroughly deserve recognition for all their hard work’.

23rd July 2007

We would like to introduce our new website. It has the latest, news information and regulations about tissue products and their uses. You can also order our products online or if you prefer, the order form can be printed off and faxed back.

Our centre in Liverpool is staffed by qualified health care professionals, and they are happy to answer any queries you may have about Tissues.

10th April 2006

Duke of Gloucester set to open new NHS Blood and Transplant centre in Liverpool

HRH the Duke of Gloucester will be in Liverpool on Monday 10th April to officially open a brand new NHS Blood and Transplant centre for Merseyside and North Wales.

The new centre, based on a site in Speke, will provide a base for the largest tissue bank in Europe, collecting and storing tissues such as skin, bone and tendons to supply hospitals across the UK. Since Autumn 2005, the National Blood Service is the sole supplier of donated skin in the UK.

Like organs, tissues can be donated after death and are used in life-improving surgery for patients. Donated skin is used to treat burns and last year was used to help people injured in bombings in London and Egypt. Donated bone and ligaments are used for orthopaedic surgery such as hip and knee replacements.

The Speke site is also the base for blood collection in the region and issues blood to local hospitals. It replaces a former site on West Derby Street in Liverpool.

Scientists working at the site provide support to hospitals throughout the North West including antenatal testing, blood grouping and antibody screening.

Other services set to be based at the site include the National Frozen Blood Bank, which provides stocks of rare blood for patients from all over the world, and a project manufacturing 'artificial tears' for patients with severe dry eye problems.

The party receiving the Duke of Gloucester at the new centre is set to include NHS Blood and Transplant Chairman Bill Fullagar and Chief Executive Martin Gorham, as well as Councillor Alan Dean, Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

Mr Fullagar said, "We are delighted to be opening a new NHS Blood and Transplant centre in Liverpool. The world-class facilities for tissue collection are something the region can be really proud to host. We look forward to forging strong links with the region's universities, and continuing to work closely with local hospitals, with the enduring aim of saving and improving patients' lives."

HRH the Duke of Gloucester will be officially opening the NHS Blood and Transplant Centre, 6 Estuary Banks, Liverpool L24 8RB on Monday 10th April at 12:00pm. Reporters and photographers are asked to arrive at 11:30.

Interview opportunities will be available with:

Bill Fullagar, Chairman, NHSBT
Peter Garwood, Managing Director, NBS

Please confirm your attendance in advance by contacting Rachel Roberts, NHS Blood and Transplant Communications Officer on 0161 2514370 or by e-mailing

For media enquiries outside office hours please call the on-call press pager on 07659 133583.

7th August 2006

Call for Liverpool people to support tissue donation

Liverpool residents are being asked to support a new tissue donation scheme which is being launched this week.

From August 7th, relatives of deceased patients in the Merseyside area could be approached to discuss tissue donation, where skin, bone, tendons and corneas are donated after death. Such donations allow other patients the chance to have much needed and vital surgery.

Jane Pearson, NHSBT National Nurse Manager for Tissues, said, "We know there is a great deal of support for organ donation in Merseyside because nearly 158,000 people in the region are on the organ donor register. However, many people are less familiar with the idea of tissue donation. Our aim is to raise awareness of just what a difference tissue donation makes to patients' lives."

Donated skin is used to provide skin grafts for burns patients, and helped many people injured in the London bombings. Donated corneas can restore eyesight, whilst donated bone and tendons are often used for orthopaedic surgery.

In April a brand new tissue donation centre was opened in Speke by HRH the Duke of Gloucester. The state-of-the-art facilties allow donors to be brought to the centre to donate tissues in a procedure similar to a normal operation.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which co-ordinates tissue donation in the UK, plans to make the public aware of the scheme.

Just like organs, skin and other tissues from the body such as bone, tendons and corneas can be donated after death. However, unlike organs, these tissues can be donated up to 48 hours after the heart stops beating.

Although tissue donors are strictly screened to ensure they are suitable, factors such as age matter less. Many people could donate something after their death to help others; in fact the tissues donated by one person can actually help up to thirty people benefit from transplant surgery.

NHS Blood and Transplant have worked closely with Andre Rebello, HM Coroner for Liverpool, ahead of the start of the scheme. He said, "When someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly the worst has already happened for their family. Giving permission for donation, so that the tragedy at least results in hope for someone else, can bring them great comfort. Although it won't always be possible for us to give permission for donation, we will do our utmost to help ensure people's wishes are respected and as many patients as possible can be helped."

The new scheme has received widespread support from key local figures including Garston MP Maria Eagle and Lord Mayor Councillor Joan Lang, as well as local patient representatives. It has also been praised by the British Medical Association.

Anyone who is interested in helping others after their death by donating organs or tissues can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by calling 0845 60 60 400 or visiting It is important to discuss your wishes with next of kin so they are confident in supporting them.

For further information or to arrange a tour of the National Blood Service tissue donation centre at Speke please contact:

Rachel Roberts, NHS Blood and Transplant Communications Officer: 0161 2514370


Maria Eagle MP said,
"I have visited the tissue donation facilities at Speke, and was hugely impressed by the work carried out there. There is great potential through this scheme to help improve the lives of thousands of patients across the country. I would encourage the people of Merseyside to show their support by joining the organ donor register"

Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Joan Lang said,
"Tissue donation can save and improve lives so I encourage as many people as possible to help others by joining the organ donor register."

Lionel Johnson, lay representative for Merseyside Patient and Public Involvement forum, said,
"The donation of tissues has great potential to enhance the quality of patients lives. When the families of patients are approached about the tissue donation scheme following the loss of a loved one I am confident the NHS Blood and Transplant staff will take into account their shock, grief and apprehension. Their trained and sympathetic staff will treat families with the utmost dignity and respect, showing care and consideration for religious beliefs."

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association Head of Ethics and Science, said
"This new state-of-the-art tissue donation facility is a very exciting development that will greatly improve the efficiency of the service and provide optimal conditions for the retrieval and handling of donated tissue. This will ensure that the tissue collected is of the highest quality. We have a responsibility to those who make this most valuable gift, and their relatives, to ensure that the best possible use is made of donated tissue and this new facility will help to achieve that."

National Order Line:
0845 607 6820

National Fax Line:
0845 607 6819

Tissue Services

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