Overview and Role of the NBA

The National Blood Authority (NBA) is a statutory agency within the Australian Government Health portfolio that manages and coordinates arrangements for the supply of blood and blood products and services on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments.

Our vision
Our role
Our values
Our Chief Executive
Our people
Our plans
Our strategies
Our Annual Reports

The NBA was established by the National Blood Authority Act 2003 following the signing of the original National Blood Agreement (see links below) by all state and territory health ministers. The National Blood Agreement sets out the primary and secondary policy objectives of all Australian governments in relation to the Australian blood sector. The Australian Government, and state and territory governments, signed the agreement in 2002 and, in so doing, agreed to implement a coordinated national approach to policy setting, governance and management of the Australian blood sector, including administrative and financial arrangements.

Under the agreement, blood products are provided at no direct cost to patients. The blood sector is funded by the Australian Government (63%) and by the states and territories (37%), with the funding provided by each state and territory determined by the quantity of product provided to each particular state and territory.

The National Blood Agreement’s primary policy objectives are:

  1. to provide an adequate, safe, secure and affordable supply of blood products, blood-related products and blood-related services in Australia; and
  2. to promote safe, high-quality management and use of blood products, blood-related products and blood-related services in Australia.

A supporting principle is that blood and blood-related products can be accessed by patients at no direct cost, provided such use is in accordance with clinical need and appropriate clinical practice.

Our vision

Saving and improving Australian lives through a world-class blood supply.

Our role

The NBA represents the interests of the Australian and state and territory governments, and sits within the Australian Government’s Health portfolio.

The key role of the NBA is to:

  • provide an adequate, safe, secure and affordable supply of blood products, blood related products and blood related services, and
  • promote safe, high quality management and use of blood products, blood related products and blood related services in Australia.

The NBA:

  • works with jurisdictions to determine the clinical requirements for blood and blood products to meet national clinical needs and develop an annual supply plan and budget
  • negotiates and manages national contracts with suppliers of blood and blood products to obtain the products needed
  • assesses blood supply risk and engages in contingency planning for risks arising in the sector and impacting on the sector
  • supports the work of the jurisdictions to improve the way blood products are used - including developing and facilitating strategies and programs that will improve the safety, quality and effectiveness of blood usage, particularly in the areas of national standards, guidelines and data capture and analysis
  • provides expert advice to support government policy development, including identification of emerging risks, developments, trends and new opportunities
  • manages the evaluation of proposals for blood sector improvements, including proposals for new products, technologies and system changes
  • provides secretariat support to the Jurisdictional Blood Committee (JBC).

Our Values

We recognise the important role that blood and blood products play in the treatment and clinical management of Australian patients and are committed to:

  • meeting patient needs for the provision of a safe, secure, adequate and affordable supply of blood and blood products
  • working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop, monitor and improve national networks and systems for improved clinical awareness and practices in the use of blood and blood products
  • developing the professional and technical competence of our staff
  • delivering our mission in an efficient, professional, inclusive, responsive and innovative manner.

Our Chief Executive

NBA Chief Executive John Cahill

John Cahill was appointed as Chief Executive of the National Blood Authority in September 2016.

He has come to this role from a position as First Assistant Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of Health. He brings wide ranging policy, program, operations, service delivery and corporate management knowledge and experience, including more than 23 years’ experience as a senior executive with various federal government departments and agencies.

His most recent roles have involved the leadership and management of major projects and the delivery of challenging and complex services across Australia and in Australia's partner countries in relation to highly sensitive and contested policy development and implementation. This has included the management  and delivery of significant health services, infrastructure services, major procurement and the management of contracts with a value in excess of $A10 billion. It has also included difficult security and logistics operations.

John was inaugural Chief Executive of Biosecurity Australia, responsible for successfully establishing and leading that Agency to undertake independent science-based risk assessments of animal and plant health risks to Australia and provide policy advice to government on these issues. He had previously worked in senior executive roles involving large and complex operations delivering Australia's quarantine border controls relating to animal, plant and human health issues. He has also been responsible for delivering substantial corporate management, governance and related services including HR, finance and ICT. He has extensive leadership and management experience in a commercially operating regulatory authority with budgets exceeding $300 million annually and more than 3000 geographically dispersed staff.

John was an inaugural Member of the Centre for Strategy and Governance which is a network of independent professionals that provides high level strategic advice to governments, the corporate sector and the not-for-profit sector.

Our People

As a small independent agency, the NBA provides an environment that empowers staff to take direct responsibility for delivering significant outcomes in a challenging and ever changing industry. We espouse to foster an environment of diversity, enthusiasm and leadership, with a strong work ethic.

NBA is also supported by an advisory board. Visit NBA Board for more information.

Our Plans

The NBA activities are guided by three key planning documents that are endorsed by Governments:

Statement of Expectations/Intent

The Assistant Minister for Health provides the General Manager of the NBA with a Statement of Expectations which outlines the performance expectations of the NBA, and as a way of supporting accountability and ensuring high levels of performance. The General Manager of the NBA responds to the Statement of Expectations with a Statement of Intent which outlines how the NBA will meet required performance expectations.

Jurisdictional Blood Committee Strategic Plan 2013-15

The Jurisdictional Blood Committee Strategic Plan for 2013-15 has been prepared by the Jurisdictional Blood Committee (JBC).  Its purpose is to provide strategic direction to the JBC and inform relevant work plans, including jurisdictional plans and the NBA Corporate Plan / Operational Plan for the next 3 years.  It articulates how JBC will continue to work with the NBA to fulfil its roles of high level policy and governance and oversight of blood supply arrangements in the following areas: supply planning and risk management, safe and appropriate use, data and sector information and financial sustainability.

NBA Corporate Plan 2013-15

This NBA Corporate Plan 2013-15 outlines NBA activities over the next three years that are designed to address the sustainability pressures and thereby ensure security of supply for future generations. Central to this Plan is a commitment to drive appropriate stewardship in the management and use of blood and blood products.

Our strategies

The NBA delivers its required planning outcomes in accordance with a range of more detailed strategies that address specific areas of activities endorsed by governments. Key strategies include:

Annual Report