Pathology staff are the “silent champions” of our donated blood supply system

National Blood Authority values pathology

The head of Australia’s National Blood Authority, Leigh McJames, has described pathology workers as the ‘silent champions’ of one of the safest and most effective blood supplies in the world.

In 2013, the Australian Red Cross collected over 1.3million blood donations from generous donors. But it was pathology that managed the safe provision of those units to patients in need. You might be surprised to learn that 34% of donated blood units go to cancer patients, 18% to surgical patients, 4% to women with obstetric complications and 2% to trauma victims.

In life-threatening situations such as those described, pathology staff ensure that the correct blood is matched quickly with the right patient. Blood units have a ‘use-by’ date similar to food. As Leigh explains, pathology staff further ensure that precious blood units aren’t squandered by being left to go out-of-date.

Leigh says “pathology ensures that from donation through to the administration (transfusion) of a blood product, it is safe and is the best product for that particular patient.” You can see Leigh’s explanation of the value of pathology in blood supply in this video: