• Dr S.J. Urbaniak,

  • Mrs M.A.F. Farquhar,

  • Professor G.D.O. Lowe

The Joint Consensus Conference on Anti-D Prophylaxis, held at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on 8–9 April 1997, was the fifth such Consensus Conference held at this College, and the first to be held jointly with another Royal College (representatives of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists). Since the initiation of these Consensus Conferences by the President (Professor J.D. Cash) and Assessor (Professor J. C. Petrie) of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the methodology has progressively developed. This paper summarises the methodology used in the Joint Consensus Conference on Anti-D Prophylaxis.

Following selection of the topic, a Scientific Organising Committee was established, representing Blood Transfusion (Dr S. J. Urbaniak, Chairman); Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Professor A. Calder); Pathology (Dr M. Contreras); Paediatrics (Dr T. L. Turner) and the Royal College of Physicians (Professor G. D. 0. Lowe and Mrs M. A. F. Farquhar).

Consensus Conference Questions selected by the Organising Committee were as follows:

  • • current recommendations on anti-D prophylaxis are they effective; can they be improved? antenatal anti-D prophylaxis is it worthwhile, and can we afford it?
  • • monoclonal anti-D is it safe, will it work and can it replace polyclonal anti-D? should anti-D be used for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia?
  • • ethical considerations of anti-D provision from immunised volunteers.

Evidence-based background papers addressing these questions were invited by the Organising Committee as follows:

  • • the prevention of Rh haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn;
  • • the scientific basis of antenatal prophylaxis;
  • • economics of antenatal prophylaxis.

These were peer-reviewed; precirculated to the panel, speakers and registrants; and are published in this Supplement.

Speakers were invited to address the conference questions and related topics at the meeting. Their oral presentations are also published in this Supplement.

Poster presentations addressing the questions and topics were invited from registrants and reviewed by the Organising Committee. Their abstracts are also published in this Supplement.

A Consensus Panel was selected by the Organising Committee to develop the Consensus Statement during the Consensus Conference, based on the evidence and perspectives presented in the background papers, oral and poster presentations, and open discussions (including two plenary sessions to discuss drafts of the Consensus Statement). In the case of the Consensus Conference on Anti-D Prophylaxis, the existing UK Guidelines in this area and draft version were also reviewed: however, the Consensus Conference and the review of the UK Guidelines remained separate processes. Members of the Consensus Panel presented a range of perspectives including microbiology, obstetrics, paediatrics, general practice, health research, health economics, patients organisation and medical journalism.

The Consensus panel members were:

  • Professor Dame Rosalinde Hurley London (Chairperson)

  • Professor Brian Edwards The School for Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield

  • Mr Paul Haines, Science Editor Hospital Doctor

  • Dr Brenda Gibson Consultant Haematology, Royal Hospital, for Sick Children, Glasgow

  • Dr P. P. Mortimer, Director of Hepatitis and Retrovirus Laboratory Central Public Health Laboratory, London

  • Dr C. Everett, General Practitioner Holybourne, Alton

  • Professor P. Howie Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee

  • Professor Sir David Hull Department of Child Health, Nottingham (Vice-Chairperson)

  • Dr J. Rodger, Chairman Scottish Council Royal College of’ General Practitioners, Glasgow

  • Miss Irene Skelton, Directorate Services Manager Queen Mother's Hospital, Glasgow

  • Professor D. Cohen University of Glamorgan Business School, Pontypridd

  • Mr D. G. Watters Primary Immunodeficiency Association, A11iurzce House, London

Publication of the process evidence and Consensus Statement in this supplement represents a key part of Consensus Conference Methodology, as does publication of the Consensus Statement in other relevant journals.

Further details on Consensus Conference methodology can be obtained from:

Mrs Margaret A. F. Farquhar

Education, Audit and Research Department,

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh,

9 Queen Street,

Edinburgh EH2 1JQ

Comments and suggestions on methodology are welcome and should also be sent to Mrs Farquhar.