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Coronavirus update

Please make sure you are able to donate by reading our coronavirus advice for donors.

How we supply blood

Have you ever wondered what happens to donated blood before it's given to a patient? Here’s what happens to a whole blood donation when it leaves one of our blood donation venues.

Blood donations are transported to the blood centre, where they are sorted and registered.

The donations are sent to the manufacturing area and samples of each donor’s blood are sent to be tested.

In manufacturing the white blood cells are filtered out of each donation. Each blood donation is broken down into its separate component parts using a machine called a centrifuge.

Next the red blood cells, plasma, or platelets are extracted using specialised machines.

All the different components are sent to different parts of the manufacturing area where they will be quarantined until all the required testing is completed.

At the same time the samples are tested in the lab. Each donation is tested to find out the blood group and checked for viruses to help ensure that each donation is safe to transfuse to patients.

Once all the testing is complete and passed, each pack of blood is labelled and placed into controlled storage, ready to be sent to hospitals.

Our professional drivers provide cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure blood gets to where it is needed.

Most deliveries to hospitals go unnoticed by the public but sometimes an urgent delivery may require a vehicle with sirens and blue flashing lights to get to the patient as quickly as possible.

After some checks, the blood is ready to be transfused.

Because each blood donation is split into its component parts, one donation can help to save or improve the lives of up to three people.