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The impact of a 10-year audit cycle on blood usage in a district general hospital

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Publication details

JournalTransfusion Medicine
DatePublished - Oct 2001
Issue number5
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)371-375
Original languageEnglish


As clinical governance moves from concept to practice, it is emerging as a realistic strategy to promote and improve quality within the National Health Service, as well as satisfying the demand for external accountability. In the context of blood transfusion, the area of responsibility encompasses product liability, as well as efficient use of blood as a resource and transfusion as an appropriate clinical response. Clinical governance may be a modem catch phrase, but the principles it enshrines have long been established within blood transfusion, and in other aspects of haematology. Here, an audit cycle comprising four audits over a 10-year period to monitor the use of cross-matched blood in a large district general hospital is described. Initially, blood use was considered by hospital site, and by the surgical procedure for which it was requested. Later. the scope of the audit was expanded to consider usage by individual consultant. A standard of efficient use of cross-matched blood was taken to be a cross-match to transfusion ratio of <1.5. The information was reviewed by the hospital transfusion committee, who have a key role in coordinating and assessing the practice of transfusion within a hospital. In this hospital, audit has been one of the main tools for improving practice, in particular by enabling the implementation and continuous revision of a maximum blood order schedule. Further, as the process of audit has developed, problem areas have been highlighted, and strategies to improve usage have been brought in with encouraging results. The audit is now being expanded again to include a greater focus on usage of cross-matched blood in the nonsurgical setting.

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