Managing Blood and Blood Product Inventory - Introduction

The National Blood Authority Act 2003 states that the National Blood Authority (NBA) is "to carry out national blood arrangements to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of blood products and services in all the States and covered Territories; and to carry out national blood arrangements relating to safety measures, quality measures, contingency measures and risk mitigation measures for the supply of blood products and services."

The National Blood Agreement requires that all parties identify opportunities to develop and implement strategies for the Australian blood sector, to:

  • promote optimal safety and quality in the supply, management and use of products, including through uniform national standards; and
  • make best use of available resources to give financial and performance accountability, by all entities involved in the Australian blood sector.  

Australian Health Ministers have issued the "Statement on National Stewardship Expectations for the Supply of Blood and Blood Products" which states that health providers should have processes, programs and facilities in place that minimise wastage of blood and blood products and that national planning, management and governance are supported by:

  • health providers having an ordering and receipt verification process in place which provides adequate financial accountability as required by governments; and
  • inventory data is provided on a regular and timely basis to assist in supply and demand planning requirements especially in times of national shortages.1

The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 7, Blood and Blood Products, requires health service organisations to have ‘systems to receive, store, transport and monitor wastage of blood and blood products safely and efficiently’.2

Many of the risks associated with receipt, storage, collection and transport of blood and blood products can be reduced. Systems and processes can be designed to address these risks. Systems for cold chain integrity, sample collection, cross-matching, product collection, and inventory management including storage, handling and transport should be monitored to identify and address weak spots.

These guidelines provide better practice processes that can be used by health providers to ensure these risks are mitigated and improvement opportunities are identified and implemented.

Labelled blood tubes at the microbiology laboratory


These guidelines are intended to cover the following products:

Fresh blood components and products

  • Red blood cells
  • Platelets
  • Clinical fresh frozen plasma
  • Cryoprecipitate
  • Cryodepleted plasma
  • Whole blood and other products such as autologous serum eye drops

Plasma & recombinant products

  • Albumin
  • Immunoglobulins, including immunoglobulin replacement therapy (e.g. IVIg)
  • Hyperimmune globulins
  • Clotting factors

Blood drop image

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