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Ontario Government To Re-Introduce Blood Donor Bill

Web posted on July 22, 2014

Ontario is introducing legislation to safeguard the integrity of the province's health care system. The proposed Safeguarding Health Care Integrity Act, 2014, combines two bills that were previously introduced but that did not pass before the dissolution of the legislature in the spring.

The legislation, if passed, would protect the current model of voluntary donations for blood and plasma. It would prohibit payments to individuals for their blood and plasma, including reimbursement of expenses or other forms of compensation.

The act, to be introduced July 22, 2014, is a combination of the Enhancing Patient Care and Pharmacy Safety (Statute Law Amendment) Act, 2013, originally introduced on Oct. 10, 2013, and the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, originally introduced on March 20, 2014.

"Canadian Blood Services has successfully managed the blood and blood products supply for Ontarians for more than 15 years. We are confident in the safety and sustainability of the current blood and blood products system in Canada, and we recognize Ontario's role in preserving voluntary blood and plasma donation in this province." Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services.

The proposed act would also respond to a key recommendation made by Dr. Jake Thiessen's review of Ontario's cancer drug supply system. Canada is completely self-sufficient in its supply of plasma used for transfusions. This legislation would strengthen the safety of drugs provided to patients in the province's hospitals and expand the oversight of regulated health professionals in Ontario by:

--> Allowing for the inspection and licensing of hospital pharmacies by the Ontario College of Pharmacists.

--> Enabling health regulatory colleges to share more information with hospitals and public health authorities.

--> Expanding mandatory reporting requirements to help colleges identify and respond more effectively to issues regarding a health professional's practice.

Dr. Thiessen was appointed in April 2013 by the Ontario government to conduct a review in response to the discovery of under-dosing of chemotherapy drugs at four Ontario hospitals and one in New Brunswick. On Aug. 17, 2013 the government released Dr. Thiessen's report which laid out 12 recommendations that the government endorsed.

"Our government is taking decisive action to keep Ontario's blood and plasma donation system voluntary and make our province's drug system safer for patients. This legislation will help ensure that the pillars of Ontario's health care system remain strong." Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Protecting the current model of voluntary blood donations and strengthening the safety of Ontario's cancer drug supply system supports the government's commitment to maintain the integrity of our health care system.