Blood Transfusion

The blood transfusion service is part of the haematology department at The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust. The transfusion laboratory works very closely with the clinical haematology service to provide specialist care to patients with disorders of the blood.

The transfusion laboratory is responsible for issuing blood products for transfusions. Annually the department issues more than 38,500 units of blood components, including red cells, plasma and platelets each of which has to be carefully cross-matched to each patient.

Information on the haematology department can be found on its own page – see the related services box on the right.

Description of service

The primary role of the blood transfusion laboratory is to ensure that any patient who requires a blood transfusion receives a safe transfusion. The patient's blood sample is carefully tested, firstly determining the blood group (ABO and Rhesus) and then testing and matching the patient's sample against samples of donated blood given by volunteer donors to detect if there are any red cell antibodies present in the patient which may cause problems upon transfusion of the donated blood (cross-matched). Only when the laboratory is completely satisfied that the blood is safe and correctly matched will it be issued for transfusion to the patient.

The main blood product provided by the transfusion laboratory is red cells and each pack or unit of blood contains about 450ml of concentrated red cells which have been carefully screened for pathogens such as hepatitis. The laboratory also supplies plasma and platelets which are needed to help patients who have problems with blood clotting.

As well as blood cross-matching the laboratory performs tests on blood samples from ante-natal ladies to check their Rhesus group and to see if they have any antibodies to the Rhesus group which might affect their unborn baby.


Northwick Park and St Mark's Hospitals

Samples for testing are to be delivered to the drop-off point at pathology reception, level 5 (block 5C, above pharmacy), Northwick Park Hospital

Central Middlesex Hospital

Samples for testing are to be delivered to pathology reception, 2nd floor, Central Middlesex Hospital

Consultants and other key staff

View Blood Transfusion consultants »