Key activities

The Greek Blood & Beyond (Β&Β) initiative kicked off at the end of 2020. A first step towards paving the way to policy change, was the organization of a round table in the context of the National Health Policy Conference in December 2020, where the European Blood and Beyond report was publicly presented and PAGs discussed optimal blood management.

Subsequently, one of the most renowned Health Policy Institutes in Greece took on the responsibility of issuing a policy report by adapting the European one to the national needs and challenges as Greece experiences a paradox, i.e. the country faces extensive blood shortages every year, while being at the top of Europe in per capita blood supply.

In November 2021, an Advisory Board was held with the participation of:

  • Kyriakos Souliotis, Professor in Health Policy
  • Costas Stamoulis, Scientific Director of National Blood Organization
  • Antonis Kattamis, Professor of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
  • Pola Stratigopoulou, Curator Anesthesiologist at “Laiko” General Hospital of Athens
  • Elisavet Grouzi, Hematologist, Director at Blood Donation Unit of “Agios Savvas” Hospital
  • Patient representatives: Vana Myrilla and Vassilis Dimos.

By all accounts, the policy initiative has managed to incorporate the whole spectrum of necessary policy reforms in the field of blood management and substantiate their critical impact, in a comprehensive manner and taking into consideration the limited resources of the public sector. The recommendations cover the following pillars:

  • Set up a national awareness campaign and leverage the education system
  • Standardize the blood donation process to improve donor experience
  • Establish a digital registry system
  • Re-evaluate the incentives provided to donors
  • Issue and apply Patient Blood Management (PBM) guidelines and therapeutic protocols
  • Systematically train healthcare professionals on PBM
  • Complete the national blood vigilance system
  • Apply a horizon scanning system for innovative therapies that reduce transfusion dependance
  • Accelerate HTA and reimbursement processes for such technologies


The main pillars of the recommendations were presented for the first time in public in December 2021, in the context of the National Health Policy Congress by some members of the Expert Committee who discussed the scope of the initiative, activities and proposed reforms.

In July 2022, the final policy report published as a supplement in the most recognized scientific journal in the country -the Greek Archives of Medicine- aspiring to constitute a vehicle of disseminating the initiative and broadening its policy impact.

B&B provided also the opportunity for a series of meetings of BMS Greece with political, scientific and social stakeholders in Cyprus. Although the two countries face many different challenges and therefore have different needs and priorities in terms of blood supply, they share many common features such as the following:

  • High prevalence of thalassemia and therefore steadily increasing demand for blood units
  • Shortages of blood units
  • Risk of under-transfusion in some patients due to those deficiencies.

In this context, BMS Greece held working meetings in July 2022 with a representative of the Ministry of Health, the President of the Health Committee at the Cyprus Parliament, the Special Health Policy Advisor of the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the National Thalassemia Committee.


As part of the Greek B&B initiative, stakeholders involved have managed to constructively engage the competent decision makers in the process. The Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Mina Gaga opened the Advisory Board that took place in November 2021 and acknowledged the  added value of the initiative pointing out her political will to examine how the state could incorporate the recommendations into the national policy. In this context, a follow-up meeting was held between her and representatives of the Expert Committee in June 2022.

Furthermore, the roundtable where the B&B suggested policy pillars were presented in December 2021 was also attended by Vassilis Ikonomou, President of the Social Affairs Committee at the Greek Parliament, who stressed that the scientific groundwork of Blood & Beyond should constitute the roadmap towards the future of blood management in the country.

The  greatest achievement so far is that the recent publication of the B&B recommendations resulted in a special meeting of the Social Affairs Committee of the Greek Parliament in July 2022 regarding the national priority of blood management. The initiative was presented by Professors Souliotis and Kattamis before the President of the Committee Vassilis Oikonomou, the Minister of Health Athanasios Plevris, the President of the National Blood Organization Panagiotis Katsivelas, MPs of all parties, as well as scientific and social stakeholders. All participants recognized that the Blood & Beyond recommendations constitute a comprehensive and evidence-based basis that can accelerate the implementation of a holistic and long-term strategic national plan on blood management with cross-party consensus and active participation of all stakeholders, under the central coordination of the National Blood Organization.

As far as Cyprus is concerned, on the occasion of the Ministry of Health setting up an ad hoc committee on blood management in the country, all political and social stakeholders expressed their interest in a closer and systematic collaboration with the Blood & Beyond Expert Committee.

Local contact persons:

Zefi Vlachopioti, Market Access Lead, BMS Greece

George Tsiakalakis, Senior Manager, Policy & Government Affairs, BMS Greece