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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Frequently asked questions

What is the James Lind Alliance?

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds the infrastructure of the James Lind Alliance (JLA) to oversee the processes for Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs). PSPs aim to help patients, carers and clinicians work together to agree which are the most important treatment uncertainties affecting their particular interest, in order to influence the prioritisation of future research in that area – in this case relating to blood transfusion and blood donation [and including strategies to avoid blood transfusion].

What is the Blood Transfusion and Blood Donation Priority Setting Partnership (PSP)?

It is a partnership that brings together patients, carers and health and social care professionals to agree what research matters most in the field of blood transfusion and blood donation.

How did the Partnership come about?

Professor Mike Murphy became interested in forming a PSP to identify important treatment uncertainties in the field of blood transfusion and blood donation.  After securing support from NHS Blood and Transplant, he approached the James Lind Alliance, who are providing expertise in PSP methodology.  A list of key clinical areas commonly using blood was identified, and a steering group was recruited to ensure wide coverage of these fields.

Who is involved in the Partnership?

Organisations and individuals have been invited to join the PSP representing the following groups:

  • People with direct or indirect experience of blood transfusion;
  • Blood donors;
  • Medical doctors, nurses and other health professionals with clinical experience of using blood transfusions;
  • People with an interest in strategies to avoid blood transfusions, including from the Jehovah’s Witness community.

Can other organisations still get involved?

Yes.  We need to make sure that people know about the opportunity to take part in the national surveys and learn about the results of the project, and that funders are made aware of the top 10 priorities. You can help by promoting the surveys and, at the end of the project, disseminating the report.

How can organisations and the public find out more?

For more information or to get involved, email the James Lind Alliance Project Manager at the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, sandra.regan@ouh.nhs.uk or call her on 01865 223298.

What do you hope to achieve?

We hope to identify the unanswered questions about blood transfusion and blood donation from patient, donor and clinical perspectives and then prioritise those that all three groups agree are the most important.

What are your objectives?

Our objectives are to:

  • Work with patients, blood donors and clinicians to identify uncertainties about [the use of] blood transfusion and blood donation;
  • Agree by consensus a prioritised list of those uncertainties, for research;
  • Publicise the results of the PSP [and process];
  • Take the results to bodies that commission research to be considered for funding.

How long will the project take?

We hope to have finished by early 2017.

How many survey responses are you hoping for?

As many as possible.  Previous PSP surveys in other fields have achieved anything from a few hundred responses to several thousand.

How is research currently funded and prioritised?

Researchers and research funders predominantly determine which areas are researched. Often this is done with reference to current literature – to identify where the gaps in knowledge are. This is sometimes done with input from patients, carers, and health and social care professionals – although never in such a thorough and systematic way as will be achieved through this partnership. The PSP process will uniquely combine the input of patients, carers and clinicians with a search of the literature.

What are the “top 10” research priorities?

These will emerge from an interim prioritisation survey and subsequently a final workshop.

What will happen to the “top 10” questions?

The “top 10” questions will be publicised and discussed at events where research funders will attend. The PSP will work with its stakeholders and partners to raise awareness of the priorities and try to get them funded as research projects. The questions will be considered by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and other funding organisations when commissioning research.

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