Blood transfusion department

The Blood Transfusion Department provides an essential 24-7 service to the patients of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and GP’s throughout the Gateshead area.

We also provide a private blood grouping service for military personnel.

The Blood Transfusion Department is not only accredited by CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd) but is governed by MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency).

What is the role of Blood Transfusion?

The Blood Transfusion department is responsible for carrying out routine blood grouping, antibody identification and providing blood and blood products to a diverse group of patients. Many people will be familiar with certain blood groups including O Negative, referred to as the “Universal donor” and AB Positive, known sometimes as the “Universal recipient”. Without the confirmation of a patient’s correct ABO group, an incompatible transfusion can be fatal. Blood provision is the main priority of the laboratory which often involves Biomedical Scientist staff liaising with anaesthetists, doctors and nurses.

Patients who may require a transfusion

Sometimes a patient needs a blood transfusion because they are anaemic, or they’ve lost a lot of blood during surgery – a transfusion can’t happen unless the blood group is tested first, and the patient is checked for any antibodies they shouldn’t have. Pregnant women need to have their blood groups monitored throughout their pregnancy and may need blood when they deliver their baby, especially if things go wrong. Cancer patients need regular transfusions because their chemotherapy makes them anaemic.

It is very important to get the right results - a wrong result could mean a patient is given the wrong type of blood, and this could have very serious consequences – the patient could even die. Because of this, blood transfusion labs are very committed to safe practice and ensuring that the blood they provide is of the highest standard. 

What happens to your sample?

In order to ensure we provide a safe service, all patients must be positively identified before a sample is taken and must always wear an ID wristband. Once a sample has arrived it will be prioritized, labelled and processed. The request may be for just a blood group and antibody screen but might include a “crossmatch”. This is where a patients’ sample is incubated with a small sample from a donated unit of blood to make sure it is compatible for that patient. Blood is a life saving product but carries risks along the way. In every blood transfusion situation the benefits to the patient should always outweigh the risks.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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