Project wins award
An award-winning initiative developed by Auckland District Health Board is being adopted by Australia as a way to conserve donated blood.
The board recently received a public sector excellence award for its Blood is a Gift project, which reduces the amount of blood wasted during transfusions.
Andrew Old, who received the award on behalf of the board, says the project achieved stunning results by changing staff processes and behaviour.
‘‘It’s about doing the right thing for patients, and using the precious gift of blood wisely and saving money in the process.’’
International studies show that around 30 per cent of blood products prescribed may not actually be needed.
In response, blood transfusion committee chairman Kerry Gunn set about creating an awareness campaign that encouraged one unit of blood being transfused instead of two as part of normal practice.
Reassessment of the patient’s needs follows the initial transfusion.
‘‘The results have been stunning with a saving of more than 6500 units of blood and plasma, and a cost saving of more than $2 million,’’ Dr Gunn says.
‘‘But more importantly we know that what we are doing is safer for our patients and that we are using the precious gift of blood wisely.’’
Waitemata and Counties Manukau boards have adopted the initiative. Junior doctors rotate between the three boards.
The Australian New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion is rolling out the scheme in Australia.