Resources for GPs managing patients undergoing planned surgery

The Patient Blood Management (PBM) Guidelines reflect a systematic review of the scientific literature considered by a Clinical/Consumer Reference Group represented by experts from relevant colleges, societies and consumer groups. PBM principles are based on the idea that the patient's own blood is optimised before, during and after surgery to improve clinical outcomes by avoiding unnecessary exposure to donated blood products.

Around one in 5 patients undergoing elective surgery will have anaemia. Perioperative anaemia is itself associated with poorer outcomes, such as slower recovery. Anaemia is also associated with an increased likelihood of red blood cell transfusion. Blood transfusion is associated with an increased risk of mortality, morbidity, ICU length of stay and hospital length of stay.

Elective surgery patient blood management decision aid

How you help your patients prepare for their surgery will depend on whether they are iron replete, iron deficient or anaemic. This decision aid is designed to help simplify the decision process. These decision aids should be used when managing people preparing for planned surgery where blood loss is anticipated.

Assess for iron deficiency and anaemia:

  • full blood count
  • iron studies, including serum ferritin
  • C-reactive protein and renal function.

Patient with a history of chronic illness or inflammation or evidence of inflammation through elevation of inflammatory markers

Patient with a normal history

Elective surgery example referral letter

Communication is important to ensure you, your patient and the care team at the hospital are fully informed. This example referral letter contains information that you may want to include in your correspondence with specialists and hospitals.

Patient support materials

A set of patient support materials you can give to your patients who are planning surgery.

Fit for Surgery Fit for Life infographic

An infographic tool and personalised iron plan that sets out the need for optimal iron management in the lead up to surgery. It contains a personal record that patients may want to keep with them to ensure their care team are always fully informed about their iron status.

Managing my iron

Outlines the treatments that are available to manage iron. This may be particularly helpful for patients who have been identified as having an iron deficiency.

Fit for Surgery Fit for Life fact sheet

Outlines for your patient the steps that need to be taken to get them fit for surgery. It details the need for investigations and changes in medicine regimens.

My Guide to Blood Transfusions

Explores why patients may need a transfusion, the risks associated with transfusion and what actions they can take to help them avoid needing one.

Last updated: 27 Mar 2024