Table 2.

Approaches to improving blood safety

Area for improvementAspects for improvementResponsibilities
HaemovigilanceImprove recognition and reporting of TTIsAll healthcare professionals
Better awareness and greater ease of reporting processesAll healthcare professionals and managers
Donor screeningReview and revision of donor questionnaires to ensure they remain effective in identifying higher risk potential donors. Where possible, questions should be evidenced based and non-discriminatorySaBTO, blood services, patient groups
New testing procedures and technologies must be evaluated promptly and, where appropriate, implemented in a timely fashion. However, changing established procedures and introducing new technologies might not only be costly, but could also lead to errorsSaBTO, Blood services, commissioners
Horizon scanningSome emerging infections have been missed and others incorrectly identified as a risk to blood safety; incorrect predictions do not invalidate the need for, and importance of, horizon scanningEpidemiologists, microbiologists
Prescribe blood only if requiredSome patients undergo transfusions when other options are indicated (eg iron or erythropoietin prescription)Healthcare professionals
Patient awarenessRecipients must be informed that, although blood, its components and products are safe, they are not free from risk and their right to decline a transfusion respected. Guidelines have been issued for ensuring that patients are given full information and are able to give valid informed consent.34 Patient groups will have a key role in ensuring the messaging is appropriate and availableHealthcare professionals, patients and patient groups
OversightEffective regulation and resources to monitor safety, review current practice, and review and react to new and emerging infections and provide regular feedback to healthcare professionalsDepartment of Health, regulators, professional bodies
  • SaBTO = Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.