Contingency planning and emergency preparedness are key elements of a national blood system. It is vital to ensure that when faced with emergencies a safe and adequate supply of blood can be maintained and made available for all essential transfusions.

A Blood Supply Contingency and Emergency Plan (B-SCEP) defines key stakeholders and their expected actions for selected key risk scenarios. A B-SCEP is fundamental in order to be able to react in an efficient and adequate way to a sudden emergency, or an emerging issue that may result in a disruption of the blood supply. Having a B-SCEP in place ensures a shortened response time and enables fast and accurate mitigation strategies, which contributes to securing a safe and adequate supply of blood even during unexpected emergencies.

The B-SCEP Project

The B-SCEP Project aimed to strengthen national plans to ensure continuity of the blood supply in emergency situations, developing strategies to support European countries in this regard.

The objectives were to identify and assess the existing interventions and actions implemented at national level to ensure continuity of the blood supply in an emergency and establish the need for guidance or a standardised toolkit on contingency planning and emergency preparedness.

The project produced three deliverables: a Survey Report, a set of Recommendations and a Model Preparedness Plan.

The survey was conducted among the members of the European Committee on Blood Transfusion (CD-P-TS) and representatives of the National Competent Authorities for blood of the EU member states via DG-SANTE. It aimed to gather information on the existing national level frameworks and contingency/emergency measures in place for the blood supply among European countries.

The recommendations aim to provide support for European countries in establishing, implementing and maintaining a B-SCEP. They include general recommendations on the key aspects of a B-SCEP, followed by specific recommendations for key stakeholders of the national blood system in order to ensure preparedness when faced with emergency situations.

The Model Preparedness Plan aims to assist in the development of a B-SCEP through:

  • providing a template which aids in the structuring of key elements of the blood system in relation to an emergency response;
  • assisting in defining the organisational structure and the blood supply chain of the blood system;
  • providing a guided risk assessment tool to:
    • help define relevant key risk scenarios (what);
    • identify key stakeholders (who) for each key risk scenario;
    • decide how and when the key stakeholders should operate and interact with each other.

From this, action and mitigation plans based on the overall impact on the blood supply can be tailored accordingly, to accommodate individual blood systems.

The Model Preparedness Plan can be applied to any blood system, irrespective of its organisational setting, and it can be inclusive of all main stakeholders. The standardised B‑SCEP format provided by the Model Preparedness Plan furthermore facilitates intercountry, interregional and local contingency collaboration between different blood systems.