Blood Transfusion Information for Patients

Information for patients about blood transfusion is available in this section.

Read information for patients Therapeutic Apheresis Services.

NHS Blood and Transplant manages the national voluntary donation system for blood and supplies around 2 million units of blood a year to hospitals in England.

This section of the site provides information for the public and patients about blood transfusion. Having sound knowledge upon which to base decisions ensures you are able to make an informed choice about your care and treatment. Make this the first place you look online for accurate and up to date transfusion related information.

The resources that follow are approved by the National Blood Transfusion Committee and NHS Blood and Transplant, and every effort is made to supply the latest evidence based (or expert opinion based) information.

Please also see the 'Blood Transfusion' section of the NHS Choices website, which gives an account of the blood transfusion process, including the benefits and risks of the procedure and a patient's experience of blood transfusion. There are further links from within NHS Choices to other sources of information from organisations involved with blood transfusion, such as the UK Transfusion Services.

Blood transfusion - the expert view, questions to ask, a patient's story and much more.

2012 Transfusion Awareness Campaign - 'Do you know who I am?'

The patient identification check is a part of blood transfusion where errors may potentially be made. This campaign is designed to raise awareness of the importance of positive patient identification in blood transfusion with both healthcare professionals and patients. Further information may be found here.

Patient Blood Management

Patient Blood Management is a team approach involving the patient, their GP and hospital staff that only considers transfusion when there is clear evidence that it is the best therapeutic treatment available. For more information, click here.

Alternatives to blood transfusion - Patient Information Resources

Sometimes there may be alternatives to having a blood transfusion. For example, if you are having a major operation, keeping your body's supply of iron at the right level before surgery may help to minimise the need for a blood transfusion. A leaflet is available to advise you on the best way to achieve this. It is important to discuss this with your doctor, nurse or midwife to make sure your personal circumstances are taken into account.

There are other ways in which the need for a blood transfusion can be reduced. These may include treatment with iron tablets, or iron given directly into a vein through a 'drip'. In some operations, it may be possible to 'recycle' your own blood and give it back to you.

Please note that the technique known as 'pre-deposit' - i.e. when your own blood is taken from you before an operation, then is stored and may be given back to you afterwards - is not recommended or routinely available in the United Kingdom.

Downloads and useful links