National Immunoglobulin Governance Committees

Overview

 

A network of committees and interest groups provide formal and informal forums for informing the work of the national immunoglobulin (Ig) governance program. These committees interact with national health policy committees and forums, as appropriate. 

The principal NBA Ig governance committee is the National Immunoglobulin Governance Advisory Committee (NIGAC). Four immunoglobulin specialist working groups (SWGs) provide expert advice and comment to the NBA in the areas of haematology, immunology, neurology and transplantation. 

The informal Jurisdictional Immunoglobulin Performance Improvement (JIPI) Group provides a forum for the NBA and jurisdictions to share information, and coordinate and discuss immunoglobulin governance-related activities and initiatives, complementing the work of the jurisdictions’ own immunoglobulin interest groups (known generically as the Jurisdictional Immunoglobulin Interest Groups, or JIIGs).

Individuals involved in any aspect of Ig use and management (from medical professionals to patients and carers) who would like to keep abreast of, and potentially contribute to, discussions on relevant topics are encouraged to join the National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (NIIG). Members of the NIIG receive Ig Program Updates, a quarterly snapshot of the NBA’s current immunoglobulin-related work program and priorities. They may also be invited to provide comment on discrete issues on an ad-hoc basis, as required.  

Below: Illustrative diagram of the immunoglobulin governance arrangements and network of committees

Illustrative diagram of the immunoglobulin governance arrangements and network of committees

*Find more information on key bodies in the Australian blood sector here

National Immunoglobulin Governance Advisory Committee (NIGAC) 

Overview

The NIGAC is a statutory committee and the peak immunoglobulin governance committee. Established by the NBA Chief Executive under section 38 of the National Blood Authority Act 2003, it provides strategic advice and recommendations to the NBA on all aspects of the Immunoglobulin Governance Program. Members are formally appointed by the NBA.

Purpose and Terms of Reference

NIGAC’s role is to provide advice and make recommendations to the NBA to support the Ig Governance Program, which seeks to ensure that Ig product use and management reflects appropriate clinical practice and represents efficient, effective and ethical expenditure of government funds. NIGAC’s key tasks include making recommendations and providing guidance to:

  • evolve the Criteria for the Clinical Use of Immunoglobulin in Australia (the Criteria), which govern access to Ig funded under the national blood arrangements 
  • ensure access to and management of nationally-funded Ig is fair and equitable, as set out in the Criteria and the National Policy: Access to Government-funded Immunoglobulin Products in Australia (National Policy)
  • improve all aspects of Ig management, access and governance arrangements through data analysis, research and education.

For an overview of each of these elements, with links to more detailed information, see the Ig landing page at: Immunoglobulin.

NIGAC members also play a critical leadership role, acting as ‘champions’ for the Program.

NIGAC Terms of Reference are available here pdf (719.95 KB) or docx (854.49 KB).

Membership

Members are appointed by the NBA Chief Executive on the basis of expertise and experience, with membership renewed through a rolling membership review process. Initial appointments are for three years, with a maximum term of membership of eight years.

All key Ig stakeholder groups are represented, as illustrated below. (Note: this information is also included in the NIGAC Terms of Reference pdf (719.95 KB) or docx (854.49 KB))

Member

Comments

Chair

Person who is impartial, understands the objectives of the NBA and can lead discussion.

Medical speciality representatives:

Persons with clinical expertise to consider the clinical appropriateness, safety and cost effectiveness of Ig, including comparative outcomes of therapies.

These members Chair the Specialist Working Groups for their relevant speciality. 

Neurology

Haematology

Immunology

Transplant medicine

Consumer representatives (two positions)

Persons who provide a patient, carer and community perspective.

Nurse representatives (two positions)

Persons with experience and expertise in Ig product administration.

Dispenser

Person with expertise in Ig product dispensing and product management.

Health Economist

Persons with the experience to enable them to evaluate the comparative outcomes of therapy and consider the clinical effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of Ig compared to other therapies.

Epidemiologist

Commonwealth representative

Persons representing the government department by which they are employed (and other similar sized jurisdictions, as indicated).

State/territory representatives

Large jurisdiction (QLD, NSW or VIC) – one position

Small jurisdiction  (TAS, ACT, WA, SA or NT) – one position

Subject Matter Advisor

(As required) The NBA Chief Executive may appoint to the Committee any person with the appropriate skills, knowledge and attributes who may be able to assist the Committee with its work.

NBA representatives

The NBA Chief Executive and /or Deputy Chief Executive

Observer

Attributes

National Authoriser representative

Person who represents national authorisers.

A list of current NIGAC members is available here pdf (499.12 KB) or docx (50.48 KB).

Interested in joining NIGAC? See: How to get involved.

Meetings

NIGAC meets up to four times per year. Usually, one of these meetings is face-to-face, with others held via video or teleconference. See Ig Program Updates for an overview of NIGAC’s current work program.

Immunoglobulin Specialist Working Groups (SWGs) 

Overview

Four immunoglobulin SWGs provide expert advice and comment to the NBA in the areas of haematology, immunology, neurology and transplantation. Representation is sought from additional specialty areas (e.g. rheumatology, dermatology) on an ad hoc basis, as required. 
Members are formally appointed by the NBA Chief Executive on the basis of expertise and experience, with the Chair of each SWG formally representing their group’s position as a member of NIGAC.

Purpose and Terms of Reference

The key role of each SWGs is to:

  • provide specialist feedback, clinical advice and make recommendations in relation to the Criteria for the Clinical Use of Immunoglobulin in Australia
  • define the relative prioritisation of each indication for eligibility during times of product shortage.
  • provide specialist insight and advice to inform continuous improvement activities, including through:
    • conducting data and report reviews and recommending, developing and commissioning clinical treatment guidelines, research projects, consensus statements and other knowledge development initiatives 
    • identifying and recommending improvements to education and training initiatives
    • providing advice and feedback on improvements to the national online system used to request, authorise and manage Ig in line with the Criteria: BloodSTAR.

For an overview of each of these elements, with links to more detailed information, see the Ig landing page at: Immunoglobulin.

SWG members also play a critical leadership role, acting as ‘champions’ and facilitators for the Program.

SWG Terms of Reference are available here pdf (219.07 KB) or docx (50.07 KB) .

Membership

Each SWG includes a minimum of five medical specialist representatives, with the qualifications and clinical expertise that enable them to consider the clinical appropriateness, safety and cost-effectiveness of Ig, including comparative outcomes of different therapies. The Australian Red Cross LifeBlood is an observer on all SWGs; a representative attends meetings to participate in discussion, but does not take part in decision-making processes.

Members are appointed by the NBA Chief Executive on the basis of expertise and experience. Consideration is also given to ensuring diversity; where relevant, committees seek to include members representing both adult and paediatric specialties, from a mix of jurisdictions, including both metropolitan and rural/remote practices, where possible.

Membership is renewed through a rolling membership review process, with initial appointments of three years.

Interested in joining an SWG? See: How to get involved.

A list of current SWG members is available here pdf (373.92 KB) or docx (50.7 KB)

Meetings

SWGs meet up to 4 times a year, as required, with further out-of-session discussion as needed between meetings to progress issues. Usually, one meeting per year is scheduled to be face to face. See Ig Program Updates for an overview of the SWGs’ current work programs.

Jurisdictional Immunoglobulin Performance Improvement (JIPI) Group

Overview

The Jurisdictional Immunoglobulin Performance Improvement (JIPI) Group was established in 2020 as an informal group to support the NBA’s Ig performance improvement work, which seeks to improve the prescription, use and management of government-funded Ig products accessed through the National Ig Governance Program. The JIPI Group replaced the Immunoglobulin Health Department Liaison Group, which was set up in 2014 to support the development and implementation of the Ig Governance Program.

The JIPI Group provides a link and a forum for discussion between the people responsible for implementing the Ig governance arrangements within jurisdictions, and the Ig Governance Program. Members are nominated by each jurisdiction’s health department, and are usually members of their respective jurisdiction’s own Jurisdictional Ig Interest Group (JIIG), or equivalent.

Purpose

JIPI aims to facilitate and support an integrated, nationally-consistent and collaborative approach to all activities, projects and work programs under the Immunoglobulin Governance Performance Improvement Strategy (the Strategy) with key aims being to:

  • support the development and implementation of the Strategy through activities to enhance relevant data collection, sharing, analysis, benchmarking, reporting and governance activities conducted by the NBA and other relevant parties 
  • support the further development of compliance elements of the Strategy as appropriate within the public and private segments of the health sector.

Membership

Membership comprises representatives from each State, Territory and Commonwealth government, as well as representatives from the NBA. To be able to participate in this informal group, members must have a strong interest in Ig governance, a broad knowledge of healthcare, and be able to represent their jurisdiction to support and facilitate performance improvement activities.

Meetings

Meetings are held on an ‘as needs’ basis by tele- or videoconference. As the aim of the group is to provide a forum for sharing ideas and experience, there is often additional communication and coordination between meetings. See Ig Program Updates for information about issues recently discussed.

Jurisdictional Immunoglobulin Interest Groups (JIIGs)

Overview

As the name suggests, Jurisdictional Ig Interest Groups (JIIGs) are created at a jurisdictional level, by individual state or territory health departments. They are not an NBA committee or group, but are described here because they are an integral part of the network of committees responsible for immunoglobulin governance and management in Australia. Engaging with the JIIGs, mostly through JIPI, benefits both groups by facilitating engagement and communication between the policy makers and those responsible for its implementation at a jurisdictional and facility level. This is achieved by, for example:

  • helping to identify, communicate and resolve issues relating to the governance arrangements for Ig, including the application of the Criteria 
  • facilitating the development and implementation of program improvement activities.

Membership 

Membership differs across the groups, but generally includes representatives with an interest in Ig use and governance from the jurisdiction’s health department; specialists in the fields of immunology, neurology, haematology and transplantation; the Australia Red Cross Lifeblood; nurses; medical scientists; and patients.

Interested in joining your local JIIG? See: How to get involved.

National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (NIIGs)

 

Overview and purpose

The National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (NIIG) is an informal subscription-based group for anyone interested or involved in any aspect of Ig use and management, from medical professionals, policy-makers and administrators, to patients and their carers. 

Members of the NIIG receive the NBA’s quarterly Ig Program Updates. They may also be invited to informally discuss and comment on individual issues as they arise, including, for example:

  • Ig governance policy arrangements
  • Ig Governance Program implementation activities
  • educational material and resources on immunoglobulin
  • BloodSTAR functionality and useability 
  • program areas where improvements could be made 
  • program enhancement proposals to determine if they are fit for purpose.

Or, they may be invited to make more specific contributions to specific projects, such as:

  • providing advice and feedback on system changes and enhancements to BloodSTAR and participate in User Acceptance Testing when there is a major release of BloodSTAR
  • providing feedback on educational material and resources being developed for prescribers of Ig and patients.

Membership

Interested in joining NIIG? See: How to get involved.

How to get involved 


The Ig Governance Program relies on the input and feedback of stakeholders. There are numerous ways to get involved:

Committee membership

  • NIGAC – NIGAC membership is currently closed. NBA will begin seeking formal expressions of interest for membership from suitably qualified individuals in mid-2021, with a view to appointments being confirmed in late 2021. 

To keep informed, check this page and the Ig Program Updates page for updates, or subscribe to Ig Program Updates and the National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (details below).

  • SWGs – SWG membership is currently closed. NBA will begin seeking formal expressions of interest to join its SWGs in mid-2021 with a view to appointments being confirmed in late 2021. 

To keep informed, check this page and the Ig Program Updates page for updates, or subscribe to Ig Program Updates and the National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (details below).

  • JIPI Group – membership is by invitation only.
  • JIIG Group – Membership is determined by each jurisdiction. 
  • NIIG – Join at any time by subscribing to Ig Program Updates and the National Immunoglobulin Interest Group through BloodPortal. To do this: 
  1. create a BloodPortal account  (if required)
  2. log in
  3. from the home page, click on ‘My Subscriptions’ and follow the instructions.

Questions about membership? Please contact Iggovernance@blood.gov.au. Please include the key points in the message subject line, be as clear as you can, and remember to include your contact details.

Feedback and Questions

 

Questions about committee or interest group membership, and general questions or feedback on issues of Ig governance may be directed to: Iggovernance@blood.gov.au, or call 13 000 BLOOD (13 000 25663).

Feedback specifically relating to BloodSTAR should be directed to: support@blood.gov.au, or call the Blood Operations Centre on 13 000 BLOOD (13 000 25663).

When emailing, please include the key points in the message subject line, be as clear as you can, and remember to include your contact details.