Your safety

Donor and patient safety is very important to us.

Whether we are taking blood donations, creating blood products for hospitals or transporting them, we have rigorous, modern processes that ensure the health and wellbeing of patients and donors. You and your blood are precious and potentially life-saving, so this is how we protect you:

A safe supply of blood

Safety is at the forefront of everything we do. Before our donors give blood, we ask them to complete a health check. This comprehensive questionnaire about medical history and lifestyle enables us to assess whether it is safe for donors to give blood and to give it to someone else.

In the last 60 years, new and very serious viruses have emerged that can be passed on through infected blood. Although we routinely test for HIV, hepatitis B, C and E, syphilis and can additionally test for a range of other infections, the health check questionnaire is still crucial.

We need to know if you have travelled to areas with an increased risk of malaria or West Nile virus, or have an increased likelihood of exposure to other infections. This is because not all infections make you feel unwell. Until your body has produced antibodies or enough of a virus to be detected, our tests will not reveal them. If we can prevent donors with higher risk factors from giving blood during this 'window period' between infection and detection, we can help to ensure the safety of our blood supply to vulnerable patients.

Donors are also asked to read our donor consent booklet so they understand the importance of accurately answering the health check questionnaire. It explains the iron test and care before donating, as well as after care and the latest information about infections and the risks of certain lifestyle circumstances.

Together, the health check and the booklet are critical tools in protecting the safety of blood.

Safe storage and delivery

Blood donations are taken by our transport team directly to one of our blood testing and manufacturing centres. The sorting, recording, testing and storage of blood all takes place in modern laboratories using the latest technology. Modern safety standards are very rigorous and follow strict guidelines. Any blood donation that tests positive for infection is taken out of the supply chain and the donor contacted with advice and support. The quality and efficiency of this service are very important to us, and we are regularly inspected by independent regulators to ensure we maintain our high standards.

We are able to monitor stock levels of blood on a 'live' basis, enabling us to provide hospitals with automatic top up deliveries. This streamlined process means more patients safely receive the right blood, at the right time, with less wastage.

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