The Blood Transfusion Department provides an essential 24-7 service to the patients of Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside. The three Blood Transfusion laboratories are individually monitored for compliance against Blood Safety & Quality Regulations, which is overseen by the competent authority Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Each trust has a Blood Transfusion Policy which highlights best practice based on current National guidelines.
The role of the Blood Transfusion laboratory includes the following:-
- ABO/D blood grouping
- Antibody identification
- Antenatal testing
- Feto-maternal haemorrhage estimation
- Compatibility testing and provision of blood and blood products in both routine and emergency scenarios
Blood Transfusion is a Consultant led service with scientific and technical laboratory staff always available to answer queries and provide help. The laboratory works closely with other specialties within each hospital trust to ensure a more patient focused robust service.
Day to day advice can be obtained by contacting the Laboratory. Where clinical advice is required the Consultant Haematologist can be contacted.
Each laboratory is staffed to provide 24hr a day service.
Sample acceptance criteria
Blood Transfusion samples must be handwritten and must include the following:
- Forename (full name)
- Date of Birth
- Unique identifier – Unit/NHS Number
- Consultant or GP
- Ward or Surgery
- Time and date
It is extremely important for relevant Clinical Details to be included on the request. This helps us to prioritise urgent cases and prevent a delay in blood provision.
If the request is from inside the Hospital a contact bleep number is extremely useful. When from a community midwife it should include contact information for the midwife so that they can be contacted if required. .
To safeguard patients against wrong treatment, samples with any labelling discrepancies will be rejected and the requesting source will be notified. The laboratory operates a zero tolerance policy.
Samples must be appropriately sealed and bagged before sending to avoid spills/leaks.
High Risk/Hazardous samples MUST be double bagged. The request form and sample(s) MUST be marked with ‘Danger of Infection’ labels.
What happens to your sample?
In order to ensure we provide a safe service, all patients must be positively identified before a sample is taken and, in hospital, must always wear an ID wristband. Once a sample has arrived it will be prioritized, labelled and processed. The request may be for just a blood group and antibody screen but might include a “crossmatch”. This is where a patients’ sample is incubated with a small sample from a donated unit of blood to make sure it is compatible for that patient. Blood is a life saving product but carries risks along the way. In every blood transfusion situation the benefits to the patient should always outweigh the risks.
Where available, all requests should be made using the appropriate electronic ordering system:
Meditech Order Management
Sunquest ICE – GH and ST Hospital requests, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland CCGs,
In most cases a single 6ml EDTA (pink top tube) is sufficient. In cases where blood is required the “2 sample rule” exists. Two samples must have been received in the laboratory at 2 different times or taken by 2 different individuals to ensure positive patient identification has occurred at 2 separate occasions.
For paediatrics, a 2ml EDTA (pink top) tube is ideal for most investigations.
The Laboratory endeavours to make quality a fundamental component of all its work, and to continually monitor its performance and improve deficiencies.
All processes are subject to internal quality control procedures, involving analysis of “QC” samples with known values to check that the analysis remains accurate and precise.
In addition all analyses are subject to External Quality Assurance procedures involving the blind analysis of samples distributed from nationally recognised Reference Centres. These allow the accuracy and precision of this Laboratory’s results to be compared with other laboratories in the country and with reference values.
The Laboratory performance in External Quality Assurance is available on line.
The Department is accredited to ISO15189:2012 and ISO22870:2016 ; our full scope of accreditation is published on the UKAS website.