Public inquiry into blood safety

29 December 2017

You may be concerned about stories in the news related to the Public Inquiry announced by the Government into how infected blood was given to patients in the past.

Blood donation packsThis Inquiry is about blood and blood products provided to patients by the NHS before 1991. There is no connection to the way blood is collected and given to patients today and there is no need for you to be alarmed about giving a donation or receiving a transfusion.

Modern safety standards are very rigorous and our blood supply is one of the safest in the world. Safety is at the forefront of everything we do. We follow strict guidelines and testing procedures designed to protect both donors and patients. We are also subject to regular inspections by independent regulators.

Today, every donor completes an extensive donor health check questionnaire before each donation. This is designed to rule out anyone with possible infections. Those considered at risk of passing on an infection are asked to put off making a donation until it is safe for them to do so.

In addition, all donations are routinely tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis E, human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis and, for first time donors, human T-lymphotropic virus, before they are released to hospitals. If any blood donation tests positive for infection it is not released and therefore cannot be issued to a patient. And we help the donor with support and advice.

Are you concerned about a blood transfusion? Read our Transfusion FAQs.