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Message from the General Manager of the National Blood Authority

On behalf of the National Blood Authority (NBA), I am pleased to present the fourth Australian Haemovigilance Report. This report provides information on transfusion-related adverse events between July 2011 and June 2013 and donation-related adverse events between July 2012 and June 2013. It is a valuable resource for clinical communities and governments.

It is widely acknowledged that haemovigilance is an important tool to improve the effective and appropriate management of blood and blood products, and to ensure the safety of Australians receiving and donating blood. In January 2013 the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards were implemented, including Standard 7 Blood and Blood Products (NSQHS Standard 7), which requires health service organisations to participate in relevant haemovigilance activities conducted at state or national level.

To ensure that patients are not unnecessarily exposed to the risks associated with transfusion the NBA embarked on a program to develop Patient Blood Management Guidelines for fresh blood. Five of the six proposed modules have now been published and the sixth is in progress. The published modules cover critical bleeding/massive transfusion, perioperative, medical, critical care and obstetrics and maternity. Improvements in the appropriate use of fresh blood products and reduction in wastage have resulted in a commensurate reduction in demand. In 2013–14 the demand for red blood cells decreased by more than eight per cent and platelets decreased by three per cent compared with the previous year.

The states and territories continue to develop their haemovigilance capacity and consistent and complete data is crucial to providing vital feedback to clinical staff to improve patient outcomes. Governments have implemented a Strategic Framework for the National Haemovigilance Program to support and enhance haemovigilance activities, define haemovigilance roles and responsibilities within Australia and identify data collection and reporting obligations at local, state/territory and national levels. To further promote haemovigilance activities in Australia, the NBA will work closely with its Haemovigilance Advisory Committee (HAC) and key stakeholders to develop tools to support haemovigilance in Australia.

This fourth report is a valuable resource for assisting in understanding the risks associated with transfusion and donation in Australia. I would like to offer sincere thanks to all contributing parties for their dedication and hard work promoting safety and quality in the Australian blood sector.

signature of Leigh McJames

Leigh McJames

General Manager

National Blood Authority