Patient Blood Management is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to optimising the care of patients who might need blood transfusion. Patient Blood Management puts the patient at the heart of decisions made about blood transfusion to ensure they receive the best treatment and avoidable, inappropriate use of blood and blood components is reduced. Patient Blood Management represents an international initiative in best practice for transfusion medicine. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is working together with the Department of Health and the National Blood Transfusion Committee to support NHS Trusts to manage their blood use effectively. Evidence shows that there is inappropriate use that can be reduced and that the current trend of annual increases in use is not sustainable.
Previous initiatives to promote the appropriate use of blood
Previous initiatives to reduce red cell usage have been very successful, reducing use by almost 20% over ten years. Through sharing data on blood usage, providing examples of best practice and overcoming barriers to change, it will be possible to reduce inappropriate use of all blood components.
Why does Patient Blood Management matter?
Blood components are used to save and improve thousands of lives each year. (Find out more about blood use.) The risk of serious complications of blood transfusion is very low but patients should only receive blood they really need.
Sustainability of the blood supply
While the demand for red cells is stable, the demand for platelets increased by 8% in the last year. The recent increase in the use of platelets is projected to continue due to a number of factors such as medical advances and an aging population. Only 4% of the eligible population give blood, and new donors are always needed to replace regular donors who can no longer donate.
Cost to the NHS
NHS Blood and Transplant recovers the cost of collecting and processing blood from the hospitals that use it. So the NHS will save money by using only the blood that patients need.
Who can help?
Everyone involved in blood transfusion needs to take responsibility for ensuring it is used appropriately. Patient Blood Management needs leadership and support at every level, from national and regional leaders to trust management, health professionals and their colleagues within the hospitals.
What is being done?
A panel of experts and influencers in the field were invited to a one-day conference in June 2012 to consider international best practice and what can be done to ensure a Patient Blood Management approach is adopted across England and North Wales. The conference had the support of the NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.
Learn more about the Patient Blood Management - The Future of Blood Transfusion conference.
Following the national event a number of events organised by the Regional Transfusion Committees (RTCs) are expected to take place to roll out the key messages across the country.