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Haemovigilance is a key area of focus for both the Australian and international blood sectors and is defined as:
'… A set of surveillance procedures covering the whole transfusion chain (from the collection of blood and its components to the follow-up of recipients), intended to collect and assess information on unexpected or undesirable effects resulting from the therapeutic use of labile blood products, and to prevent their occurrence or recurrence …'(1)
Over the last 20 years, haemovigilance has become an important and integral part of transfusion medicine. International programs have shown that haemovigilance can provide valuable data on the occurrence of transfusion-related adverse events and as a result drive the introduction of initiatives which enhance the safety of the transfusion process. It is also suggested that haemovigilance will have a significant part to play in optimal blood usage and patient blood management initiatives, key areas for the Blood Service.(2)
The National Blood Authority has overall responsibility for haemovigilance in Australia under the governance of the Haemovigilance Advisory Committee. The Blood Service however plays a significant role in haemovigilance through its links with the jurisdictional programs (such as STIR, BloodSafe, Blood Watch and QiiT), and as an intrinsic part of the 'vein‑to‑vein' transfusion process through its collection, manufacture and supply of blood components and as provider of transfusion expertise.