Policy on the collection of blood samples for research or teaching.


1. Introduction

1.1 Collection of blood samples for research or teaching requires a consideration of: (i) the health and safety of the donors, (ii) the health and safety of the collectors as well as (iii) an ethical overview of the experiments proposed. Consequently the following should be observed:

1.2 Individuals working with or handling blood should be appropriately trained.

1.2.1a Training for individuals taking blood by venepuncture will be provided annually at the expense of the faculty (when required for teaching) and at the expense of the research grant holder when for research. Training will be administered (organised) locally, through faculty liaison with the external training provider (see section 1.2.2).

1.2.1b Medically trained staff with up to date CPD records that include phlebotomy (i.e. a physician licensed to practice in the UK), will be exempt from additional, unnecessary training.

1.2.1c Where less than 1mL of blood is being drawn by methods not requiring venepuncture, training may be provided locally by a suitably trained academic or technician (section 1.2.1-1.2.3).

1.2.2 Training may be provided by any competent organisation that meets NHS standards (i.e. NHS Skills For Health CHS132).

1.2.3 Individuals taking blood will need to be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken (and where appropriate passed) this training (section 1.2.2).

1.2.4 The training for students and staff handling (but not taking) blood will be provided locally by an experienced academic or technician. Local records of this training will be maintained.

1.2.5 Non-compliance with the aforementioned training will result in cessation of the research project / teaching provision until training has been undertaken. Failure to comply with these directives will be deemed a serious breach of procedure and appropriate action taken. This may result in disciplinary action and or legal action being taken against the offender.

1.3 Blood from screened, anonymised sources such as out-of-date or surplus transfusion blood should, where practicable, be used instead of fresh blood from colleagues or students. The National Blood Service (NBS) will release blood for non-clinical purposes, subject to an initial approval process.

1.4 When blood is taken, the total (including donations elsewhere) should not exceed 500ml in a 6-month period for men or 250ml in 6 months for women. Consequently the donor should be asked about blood donated or taken over the last 6 months prior to the procedure. Local blood donations will be recorded and those records maintained locally (see section 2) by the academic or technician in charge of either the research project or teaching provision.

1.5 No one should work with his or her own blood.


2. Records and storage

2.1 A record of donations, the total collected, the purpose for which the blood was used and accurate disposal records should be maintained by either: the academic or technician in charge of teaching provision or, in the case of research projects, the academic in charge of the project (i.e. the Principal Investigator (PI)).

These records should be both sufficiently accurate and detailed enough to identify the individual study being performed (by reference number(s)) as well as the donors and how much blood has been taken from each donor (cumulatively as well as on a given day). These records should be stored securely in the department for 10 years in case of subsequent queries.

Blood should only be stored if it is associated with a project which has been assigned a research ethics committee (REC) number. A site licence is required for storage of any other samples not covered by research ethics and comes under the auspices of the Human Tissue Authority.


3. Ethics

3.1 Blood donation for teaching or research must always be voluntary. Colleagues or students should not be placed under pressure to give samples. All potential donors should be able to refuse to give blood, without having to give an explanation for a refusal. Any personal information obtained in connection with collection or use of a sample must be held in confidence.

3.2 Volunteers should be told before agreeing to donate how much blood is to be taken, what the sample is going to be used for, and what tests for markers of disease, if any, are to be carried out on the sample while it remains traceable back to the donor.

3.3 Written consent, confirming that donation is voluntary and informed should be obtained. The donor should also be made aware of this policy which will be (at a minimum) available as a public document held and distributed through the University's website.

3.4 Ethical consent will always be required for projects involving the taking of human blood.


4. Blood-borne infection

4.1 The University has a duty to protect staff and students from accidental contamination with contagious blood borne disease such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. All people coming into contact with human blood should have been immunised against hepatitis B and have a current booster vaccination (i.e. less than 5 years since last booster). The cost of doing this should be covered under the same criteria applied to training (see section 1.2.1).



V. 01/11/13