Provision of immunoglobulin within the NHS

In the past, there have been times when the supply of immunoglobulin in the UK has fallen. This has happened if manufacturers have had to stop production for a few months or if manufacturers have got a better price for their product overseas.

Fortunately, these problems do not happen often and have never stopped patients in the UK getting the immunoglobulin they need. However, immunoglobulin is being used for more and more different illnesses, not just primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs). As a result, solutions to help safeguard supplies for PID patients have been put in place. These include manufacturers ‘ring fencing’ immunoglobulin especially for PID patients and NHS systems to ensure immunoglobulin healthcare needs are met. These include clinical guidelines for immunoglobulin use, first implemented in 2008 and revised in 2011, and the National Demand Management Programme for Immunoglobulin.

You can find out more by accessing the guide Intravenous Immunoglobulin: A Patient Guide to Demand Management here.

Clinical guidelines for immunoglobulin use

These ensure best practice in the use of immunoglobulin across all conditions requiring immunoglobulin. You can access and download the clinical guidelines for the different areas of the UK below.

Scotland

Clinical guidelines for immunoglobulin use (second edition update) developed for Scotland.

England

Clinical guidelines for immunoglobulin use - May 2008.

Clinical guidelines for immunoglobulin use - second edition update - July 2011.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland immunoglobulin is available as per the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) guidelines using an evidence-based prescribing process adopted from England's Department of Health guidance. Whilst at present Northern Ireland does not require prescribers to enter individuals onto the demand management national database, this is due to be adopted in due course and will, over time, mean a clearer picture across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland of the usage of immunoglobulin in PID-specific conditions is gained.

Wales

Wales has taken a different approach to the demand management programme in England. A professionally led All Wales Immunoglobulin Strategy Group has been set up. Responsible use of immunoglobulin products is very much a priority and should the lead clinician feel that a particular patient requires immunoglobulin, they would be able to commence treatment. Immunoglobulin products are managed via the Welsh Blood Service and local blood banks.

More questions about immunoglobulin therapy?

Then take a look at this section of our website.

This page was reviewed by the Medical Advisory Panel, February 2015.