Blood transfusion

Our blood transfusion service provides a range of blood and blood products, performs antenatal screening and other specialist testing for our hospitals and external healthcare professionals.

The team also advise clinicians on the appropriate use of this limited resource.

The department supports a range of medical specialities including the Elective Orthopaedic Centre, foetal medicine unit, Accident and emergency services (A&E), and Maternity services.

Laboratory services are run by South West London Pathology (SWLP), a network of pathology services which serve Kingston, Croydon and St George’s Hospitals, as well at Epsom and St Helier.

This service is assessed for compliance by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Find out more about blood transfusion services at SWLP

See the full list of blood transfusion tests

 

Key staff

Jenny Bosworth, Lead Consultant for Blood Transfusion
Vincent Michael, SWLP Network Lead for Transfusion

 

Location and opening hours

St Helier Hospital: first floor, D block
Epsom Hospital: first floor, Headley wing 

The service is available Monday - Friday, 9am - 5.30pm. Outside of these hours, we operate an on-call service. The on-call haematologist can be contacted via switchboard on 020 8296 2000 (St Helier) and 01372 735735 (Epsom). 

 

Enquiries about blood transfusion

St Helier Hospital 

Tel: 020 8296 4710/2504

Epsom Hospital 

Tel: 01372 73 5735 ext 6094

Clinical advice: available from consultant haematologist in core hours and via haematologist on-call out of hours.

More information

Tests we perform and how to label samples

We perform the following tests:

  • Group and antibody screen
  • Crossmatch
  • Antibody identification when required
  • DAT as appropriate
  • Investigation of HDN
  • Phenotypes
  • Investigation of transfusion reaction
  • Provision of blood, FFP, cryoprecipitate, platelets, prophylactic Anti-D, Human albumin solution and clotting factors.
  • Antibody quantitation and titration
  • Investigation of weak/variant RhD
  • HLA typing for platelet refractoriness – referred test to NHSBT
  • HLA matching prior to bone marrow transplant - referred test to NHSBT
  • Fetal Rh D screening - referred test to NHSBT
  • Specialist blood products and tests on request.

For detailed information about the above tests please visit our test directory and select the category 'blood transfusion'.

Instructions for labelling samples 

To identify a patient specimen beyond doubt, all sections of the form must be completed. Sample tubes must not be pre-labelled. Addressograph labels are not accepted on sample tubes. 

The following data must be on both form and specimen; the specimen should be hand-labelled at the patient’s side by the person taking the blood sample:

  • Surname and forename, full date of birth and hospital number
  • Date taken, hospital and ward/department
  • Signature of person taking the specimen.

If the name is unknown please write ‘unknown’ followed by patient’s sex and ‘emergency’ registration number.

Please note the procedure for taking samples when using BloodTrack TX is different from the instructions above. Please contact the department if more information is required.

Uncertainty of measurement

The blood transfusion department acknowledges that all testing is subject to a degree of variability and therefore uncertainty in the measurement or result. Variability can be due to biological variation, analytical variation, or other factors such as poor specimen collection, delays in transport, clerical and reporting errors.

At all stages of processing, the department has attempted to identify points at which variation may be introduced and has control measures in place to reduce the impact of this variation on the clinical relevance on the result released.

If you would like more detailed information on our quality performance or information on uncertainty of measurement please contact the department.

Factors that may affect test results

Test results may be affected by:

  • Clotted EDTA samples
  • Grossly haemolysed samples
  • Lipaemic samples
  • Presence of cold agglutinins
  • Some auto-immune diseases.

Cross matching and reservation of blood

The minimum notice for a routine transfusion is 24 hours, as the work will be done in normal laboratory hours, and extra blood may have to be ordered.

Please note that any requests for special requirements, phenotyped blood and/or blood products could result in a delay. Blue light deliveries from NHSBT are possible but must only be used in emergency situations and will require consultant approval.

Contact the laboratory to request additional cross-matching.

Potential surgical cases should have group and save at the pre-clerking appointment, with a repeat group and save on admission if a cross match is required; add "save serum" if cross match likely within seven days. 

Routine group and cross match for planned surgery is not done by emergency service staff.

Reservation of blood

Cross-matched blood is kept for 48 hours. After this time it is made available for other patients unless the laboratory is contacted between 8.15am and 8.30am.

Order and issue of all blood products as indicated by the guidelines in the hospital transfusion policy, and/or discussion with the consultant haematologist. 

 

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