JPAC Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee

Patient Blood Management

Patient Blood Management (PBM) is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to optimising the care of patients who might need a blood transfusion. PBM 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.

It is important to discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives with the patient in order to gain informed consent.

PBM represents an international initiative in best practice for transfusion medicine. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) continues to work together with the Department of Health and the National Blood Transfusion Committee (NBTC) 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 reduce red cell usage have been very successful. Through sharing data on blood usage, providing examples of best practice and overcoming barriers to change, it will be possible to reduce further inappropriate use of all blood components.

Who can help?

Everyone involved in blood transfusion needs to take responsibility for ensuring it is used appropriately. PBM needs leadership and support at every level, from national and regional leaders to trust management, health professionals and their colleagues within the hospitals.

PBM recommendations were prepared by the NBTC following the Future of Blood Transfusion Conference in 2012. The recommendations are supported by NHS England and NHSBT.

The PBM survey 2015 was carried out in order to evaluate progress in the implementation of PBM since the previous survey in 2013.

Why does Patient Blood Management matter?

Patient benefit 

Blood components are used to save and improve thousands of lives each year. The risk of serious complications of a blood transfusion is very low but patients should only receive blood they really need.

Sustainability of the blood supply

While the overall demand for red cells is reducing year on year, the reduction for platelets is less marked and may be due to 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

NHSBT recovers the cost of collecting and processing blood from the hospitals that use it. Therefore, the NHS will save money by using only the blood that patients need.