§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking, what research he is supporting, and what sums from the estimates approved by Parliament for the current year are being expended in respect of the extension of the usable life of stored blood.
§ Mr. Freeman
The use of improved anti-coagulants since 1981 has extended the usable life of whole blood to 35 days under standard conditions. Experience has shown that this is adequate to ensure that most blood can be used before it reaches its expiry date. In the case of rare blood groups it is possible and worthwhile to extend the usable life further by freezing, and facilities to freeze and store red blood cells have been set up at some regional transfusion centres. The Department is not currently supporting any research on further developments to extend the usable life of stored blood.