Events Information News

COVID-19 update and postponement of the Haemophilia Scotland AGM

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

To assist the Scottish bleeding disorders community we have tried to bring together some of the current information which might be particularly relevant to people with bleeding disorders.   We are also announcing today that we are postponing our AGM, which had been scheduled for the 18th of April (the day after World Haemophilia Day).  We will be announcing a new date shortly.

The Scottish guidance for non-healthcare settings includes recommending some resources suitable for children.  KS1: Horrid hands and Super sneezes KS2: Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Hygiene.

General Advice in Scotland

The latest advice issued in Scotland is that there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. However, there are general principles organisations and individuals can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

In the workplace:

  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g.
    telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks and tables).
  • Promote hand hygiene by making sure that staff, contractors, service users and
    visitors have access to handwashing facilities and providing alcohol-based hand rub in prominent places. For those visiting Haemophilia Scotland, there is hand sanitizer available by the sign-in sheet at reception and handwashing facilities are also available.
  • Ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas is cleaned with warm
    general-purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use.
  • Avoid leaving foodstuffs (e.g. crisps, open sandwiches) exposed and open for
    communal sharing unless individually wrapped.

Individuals should:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wherever possible, avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness
    and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes (nose and mouth) with disposable tissues, then dispose
    of these in the nearest waste bin after use. And then wash your hands/use Alcohol
    Based Hand Rub (ABHR).

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More detailed advice can be found at,

The number of the helpline is 0800 028 2816.

Safety of Treatment

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) has issued a statement stating that the “2019-nCoV is not a concern for the safety of plasma protein therapies manufactured by PPTA member companies” at this time. The association stated that “existing manufacturing methods provide significant safety margins against the 2019-nCoV.”

The European Haemophilia Consortium (EHC) is also monitoring the situation and referring concerned individuals to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which has been following developments of the outbreak.

World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) has also issued a statement on the coronavirus for people who may have concerns about travel to their 2020 World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Home Delivery of Treatment

LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare, who manage all Scottish home delivery of clotting products, says,

“Please be aware that at this time our frontline colleagues are being supported by providing additional personal protective equipment such as face masks, gowns and aprons where required. As an additional precaution, our drivers will not request a signature from patients and their representatives to support good hygiene practice. This change has been approved and is supported by the NHS until the foreseeable future.

“As things develop, we are committed to working with hospital clinical teams to ensure we provide smooth and coordinated care. We have a plan to identify, quantify and actively manage all issues arising from the impact of the coronavirus should the situation escalate.”

Protecting the Blood Supply

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) says “If you have recently returned from these [category 1] destinations  (and this includes airport stopovers), you are not currently eligible to give blood. This will be the case even if you are perfectly healthy just now.” This position is consistent with the view being taken in England, recently highlighted by The Haemophilia Society.

Immunosuppression

Some of those who were infected with blood-borne viruses through contaminated blood products have contacted us about what impact that might have concerning COVID-19.

The British Liver Trust has provided some information about immunosuppression in the context of the Coronavirus.  They say that “some liver patients, such as people with cirrhosis and transplant patients, are generally at higher risk of infection from viruses such as cold or flu.”

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) has made the following statement, which HIV Scotland endorses;

“There is no evidence so far to determine whether people with HIV are at greater risk of COVID-19 acquisition or severe disease. The main mortality risk factors to date are older age and co-morbidities, including renal disease and diabetes. Some groups with relatively lower immune suppression, such as the very young and pregnant women, do not appear to be at higher risk of complications, although the numbers analysed are very small. PHE advises that clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immunocompromised.”

Postponements and Cancellations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has issued advice that charities should keep their events and activities under review.  In addition to our decision to postpone our AGM, we are aware of the following decisions taken by organisations which may be of interest to people with bleeding disorders,.

 

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