St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, has been listed as a finalist in the 2013 HSJ Efficiency Awards for an innovative blood transfusion initiative which aims to improve patient safety and save money.

The project, led by the trust’s transfusion team, aimed to improve transfusion practices and reviewed the use of blood in patients undergoing surgery at the trust. The team audited blood usage in all elective surgical cases and implemented a revised blood ordering schedule.

In addition, patients with iron-deficiency anaemia were also offered a nurse-led iron therapy service rather than treatment with a blood transfusion, in line with best practice and carrying a lower risk for patients.

These changes have resulted in a reduction of adverse reactions to transfusions by 30 per cent and savings of £300,000 per year for the trust.

Dr James Uprichard, clinical lead for blood transfusion, said: “We hoped that a reduction in blood use would result in a decrease in transfusion-related complications. Blood transfusion is also expensive so we anticipated that there would be financial savings through purchasing fewer blood units and a reduction in unnecessary clinic appointments.

“The team has significantly reduced waiting times, transfusion costs and most importantly, maximised patient safety by reducing the clinical risks associated with transfusion.”

The HSJ Efficiency Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 25th September 2013

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