LETTER: When blood flowed freely

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From Mr L. Vallet

Sir: In view of the recent correspondence on charges for blood and blood products, it may be of interest to recall that, before the Eighties, cash transactions were not normally associated with their use in the UK.

Collection, testing, processing and distribution costs were funded regionally or centrally within the NHS. An exception was made when blood products were sent overseas to meet special needs through the then Crown Agents or other responsible organisations to whom a nominal service charge was made. This did not apply to blood products sent for disaster relief.

In those days, when the prospect of a surplus of Factor VIII was scarcely imaginable, the potentially contentious questions of charges and profit that may compromise the principle and distinguished record of voluntary donation of blood did not arise.

Yours sincerely,

L. Vallet

Fishguard, Pembrokeshire

The writer was Deputy Director of the Blood Products Laboratory from 1961 to 1986.