In September 28, 1998, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) assumed responsibility for the operation of Canada's blood supply system. (Quebec has established its own blood supply system, called Héma-Québec). CBS was set up in response to the recommendations of the Krever Inquiry into Canada's blood supply system.
Like its predecessor the Canadian Red Cross Society, CBS is responsible for donor recruitment and management, whole-blood and plasma collection, processing, testing and laboratory work, storage and distribution, and inventory management. CBS has advised that current reporting mechanisms and current shipping and delivery schedules will continue. In addition, at least for the near future, CBS has committed itself to the continued delivery of all existing core and non-core programs and services. While the operation of the blood supply system in Canada under CBS is thus to remain at the status quo in the near term, it is important to recognize that we are in a period of transition and that there will likely be some changes in the relationship between CBS and hospitals in the future, in part growing out of the implementation of the Krever recommendations.
The final Krever report, released in November 1997, contains 50 recommendations which are directed at all parties involved in the blood supply system in Canada, including hospitals and physicians. This article will focus on the Krever recommendations directed at hospitals and discuss their potential legal and practical implications. Some or all of the discussion which follows may prove to be academic, however, as it is uncertain, at this date, which of the Krever recommendations directed at hospitals will be implemented.
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