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We update this area with news stories between issues. If you would like to be added to the iTransfuse Express mail list, email email@example.com
13 March 2013
The Blood Service has been creating resources and education to improve transfusion practice and better use of blood, through our National Medical Education Unit and our Transfusion Clinical Governance Unit.
You can find webinars and online education at iTransfuse Online - there's a button on the home page of transfusion.com.au, which is the easiest way to find it. We ask you to sign in to this area so a record can be kept of your education and so that certificates can be printed to prove your participation for RACGP, RCNA and APACE points.
We've also got resources in the library section of our site, including references and training materials.
To help your teams and colleagues find out about what's available, we've created a Transfusion resources flyer, pointing to resources and upcoming events. Please feel free to pass this on as a PDF or print copies for Transfusion Committees and other relevant meetings.
The Blood Service provides a therapeutic venesection program for patients referred by their treating doctor for certain medical conditions. The most common of these is genetic haemochromatosis.
The Blood Service is introducing an electronic referral system to improve and streamline the referral process for patients with haemochromatosis. It should result in faster approval for patients, so that they can commence their venesections promptly.
Treating doctors will be able to access the referral application at highferritin.transfusion.com.au. It is planned to go live on 2 January 2013.
From 1 February 2014 we will no longer accept paper-based referrals for existing therapeutic venesection patients. Paper-based referrals for new patients will not be accepted after 1 May 2013.
The Blood Service accepts patients referred by their treating doctors after approval by our medical officers. Under the current system, the approval process may take several weeks. To be accepted into the therapeutic venesection program, patients need to meet the program criteria and the Blood Service general donor safety guidelines.
Referring doctors are required to provide sufficient information for our medical officers to assess if their patients meet the Blood Service criteria. If the information is incomplete, this can delay the approval process. The new app will assist referring doctors in ensuring that all relevant information is provided to complete the request.
Under the new electronic system, newly referred patients between the ages of 16 to 70 with genetic haemochromatosis, who are in good general health, should be assessed and notified quickly of their eligibility to attend the Blood Service.
The new web-based process, which was designed in consultation with Professor John Olynyk, an expert in the field of iron disorders, has been approved by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand.
11 October 2012
Transfusion associated graft versus host disease (TA-GvHD) is a rare and life threatening transfusion reaction that may occur in immunocompromised patients following the transfusion of cellular components. This complication can also occur in immunocompetent patients if HLA homology is present between recipient and donor. The outcome is nearly always fatal.
The Blood Service has created a tool to provide health professionals with a quick guide to situations when the use of irradiated cellular components is appropriate.
5 September 2012
Flippin’ Blood has just been updated, and Transfusion Nurses at the Blood Service will be distributing copies to hospitals in September.
The book was created by BloodSafe, a collaborative of the South Australian Department of Health and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. It is a clear and easy-to-use flip chart guide to transfusion practice, designed to give nurses information at the bedside, as it is needed.
General transfusion practice and equipment is explained, with correct procedure and precautions highlighted to guide people who may not regularly transfuse blood products and components to step through the procedure safely and with confidence.
The new edition of Flippin’ Blood reflects changes in products and practice in accordance with the second edition of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Blood Transfusion Guidelines for the Administration of Blood Product.
For more information about transfusion resources, contact the Australian Red Cross Blood Service or state collaboratives; BloodSafe (SA), Blood Watch (NSW) and Blood Matters (Vic).
If you still have a first edition of Flippin’ Blood, please be assured it is still accurate and continuing to use it as a guide will not cause harm to a patient. The second edition provides additional and updated information.
Click here to connect to the Library. Look for Flippin' Blood under 'Practice Improvement tools'.
30 August 2012
The Blood Service’s product information booklet, Blood Component Information, is now available as an app, so that it can be easily accessed from tablets and smart phones. Android version coming soon.
You can find it in the Apple app store at this link or by searching the term BCI.
10 August 2012
The Criteria for the Clinical Use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) in Australia was developed in 2007 to assist clinicians and transfusion medicine professionals to identify the conditions and circumstances for which the use of IVIg is appropriate and funded under the National Blood Agreement. The second edition changes are effective from today, Friday 10 August 2012.
To find out about the changes and to download or order hard copies of the new Criteria, go to the National Blood Authority website. To access Blood Service information and revised order forms, go to our page on intravenous immunoglobulin on this website.
3 August 2012
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has a new education resource to teach the correct method for checking a blood component pack before transfusion.
Created by the National Medical Education Unit at the Blood Service, ‘Pack Check’ is suitable for nurses and students, either to teach or reinforce good transfusion practice.
Correct patient identification remains one of the most prevalent – and preventable – hazards of transfusion. The 2011 UK Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT) Report shows identification of the correct patient as a key issue in transfusion and reinforces its importance as a key clinical skill.
The package contains educator notes as well as learning scenarios and materials for educators to set their own exercises. It is easy to read and follow, with clearly marked instructions and guidelines for each activity.
Students are interactively involved in the learning scenarios. The activities emulate bedside practice, including reading the patient case study, checking the blood component pack and then answering questions to reinforce knowledge and the importance of correct identification and matching of the product and the patient.
The Pack Check is now available as a downloadable PDF in our library section.
It can be laminated and kept as a resource in medical learning environments so that it may be re-used by teachers and students.
22 July 2012
We are pleased to advise that we have successfully switched back from our Disaster Recovery environment to our usual NBMS Production environment at 8:00 am Sunday 22 July 2012 (AEST) and we have experienced no problems with the system since then.
For BloodNet customers, issue notes are currently being processed and you will be able to receipt orders shortly.
We would like to sincerely thank you again for your ongoing support and patience throughout this period.
19 July 2012
We would like to sincerely thank you again for your support and patience during the recent issues experienced with our National Blood Management System (NBMS).
Following extensive testing over the past week, we will switch back from our Disaster Recovery environment to our usual NBMS Production environment this weekend. We have conducted detailed planning, testing and validation to ensure a smooth transition.
The switch to our usual environment will take place between 22:00 AEST Saturday 21 July to 13:00 AEST Sunday 22 July. During this time we will be using manual procedures to process urgent orders.
For BloodNet customers you will not receive an electronic issue note to receipt against until the NBMS system is back online and all manual data is re-entered, which may take up to 24 hours.
Our inventory, including platelet levels, remains strong due to continuance of collections, processing, testing and distribution activities. Therefore we expect no other impact on supply to you.
Thank you again for your ongoing support and patience.
13 July 2012
The Blood Service has determined the cause of the network problem which led to the recent issues with its National Blood Management System (NBMS), which is the computer system that manages the core functions of blood collection, manufacturing, testing, inventory and distribution processes.
The NBMS, and the rest of the Blood Service data communications network, is specifically designed with high levels of redundancy. This is to prevent a system failure which could lead to an outage of the NBMS. The NBMS runs in the "Production" environment usually. All users connect to this environment via a network device known as a core switch. There are two core switches active and they operate as a pair to allow network functions to transfer from the "primary" switch to the "secondary" switch in the event of a problem.
However, early in the morning of Wednesday 4 July 2012, the primary switch experienced an internal software failure. The secondary switch automatically commenced taking over the network functions from the primary switch, however this process did not complete fully because of the type of software failure that occurred. The consequence was that both the primary and secondary switches were not able function correctly and caused the NBMS to be inaccessible to the Blood Service staff.
The software failure had caused some of the components of the switch to be turned off, giving the appearance of a hardware failure. This led to difficulties in diagnosing and fixing the problem.
Once it was determined that the problem with the network switches could not be resolved in an acceptable time-frame, the decision was made by the Blood Service to redirect users and other system interfaces to the NBMS "Disaster Recovery" (DR) system. This is a fully functional redundant system which operates from a different server, in a separate data centre and contains fully up-to-date Production data. This system was tested and operational by Thursday 5 July at approximately 2140. The DR system has since provided a stable environment for the Blood Service to continue operations.
The DR system is, however, of less capacity than the Production system, meaning operations are sometimes slower when there is a large volume of data to enter or process. All data back-log has now been entered or uploaded into the DR system and all automated testing machine interfaces connected to the NBMS DR are working well, along with all other system interfaces.
The root cause of the switch failure has been identified and the required corrective action taken. The Blood Service is now undertaking a series of rigorous tests that will provide confidence that all problems have been identified and resolved prior to returning users to the original NBMS Production system.
Blood component inventory is now at expected levels for this time of year.
12 July 2012 - 4.00pm
The Blood Service would like to provide a final daily update on our inventory status following the recent issue with the National Blood Management System. Further updates will be provided on an as required basis.
Our inventory levels have been progressively returning to normal throughout the week. We will continue to meet orders according to our usual processes and, where necessary, liaise with you about any orders for platelets and specific red cell components.
Thankyou once again for your assistance, support and patience during this challenging time.
28 June 2012
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is relocating part of its Adelaide manufacturing operations to Melbourne. Preparations for the move will take several months, with the majority of the work being transferred in October 2012.
Blood collection and distribution in South Australia will continue as usual. There will be no changes in blood supplies for Adelaide patients and hospitals.
24 May 2012
Donor selection policies are an important element in safeguarding the Australian Blood Supply. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (Blood Service) set up a review of current deferral policies relating to sexual activity of blood donors. The aim of the review was to ensure that the deferral policies and questions donors are asked are scientifically based, are relevant to Australia, and are in keeping with international practice.
The Blood Service received The Review of Australian Blood Donor Deferrals Relating to Sexual Activity at the end of May 2012. The Blood Service will now carefully consider the report and its recommendations before determining an action plan.
18 April 2012
CSL Biotherapies has begun to notify Australian hospitals that one batch of albumin solution is to be recalled and all other batches of albumin solution under quarantine can be released for use. This action follows an extensive investigation by CSL Biotherapies in collaboration with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Read more...
08 March 2012
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has taken steps today to quarantine CSL Human Albumin solutions from further use while an assessment is undertaken of the safety of these products. All hospitals and other relevant medical organisations are being advised of this action. Read more...
18 November 2011
CSL Biotherapies and the Blood Service are advising the availability of a larger and more concentrated presentation of BIOSTATE® from Monday 21 November 2011. Read more...
20 October 2011
Octagam® 5%, an imported intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) product, has been reintroduced and is available for ordering at the Blood Service from 24 October 2011. Read more...
15 September 2011
The Blood Service is upgrading its National Blood Management System (NBMS) on Monday, 19 September 2011. The transition from NBMS Progesa to the new system, eProgesa, is a technology upgrade and sets the foundation for future improvements. Stakeholders may expect impacts and changes with the implementation of the NBMS upgrade. Read more...
26 August 2011
Rhophylac®, manufactured by CSL Behring, will replace WinRHO-SDF as the Rh(D) immunoglobulin for intravenous use available within Australia.
The change over from WinRho-SDF to Rhophylac® will occur when current stocks of WinRho-SDF are depleted which is anticipated to occur during August 2011. Read more...
The Blood Service has previously advised that the phased introduction of leucodepleted apheresis platelets in platelet additive solution (PAS) would commence in May 2011 but this has been delayed. Read more...
The National Blood Authority (NBA) has recently announced the outcomes of its tender for the provision of a number of imported plasma and recombinant products, replacing contracts for these products which expired on 30 June 2011. Read more...
In 2010/11, the Blood Service supplied 800,570 red cells, 134,705 platelets, 160,537 units of clinical fresh frozen plasma, 70,102 units of cryoprecipitate and 13,882 units of cryodepleted plasma. Read more...
31 March 2011
The Guideline is available from the National Blood Authority website as a PDF. Hard copies can also be ordered from the NBA via their site.
22 February 2011
The draft Perioperative module of the Patient Blood Management Guideline has been made available for comment from Monday 7 February.
Preliminary conclusions and draft recommendations are now available to a wider clinical audience to make submissions.
The closing date for submissions is 5pm Friday 1 April 2011. To view the guideline and to make submissions go to http://www.nba.gov.au/guidelines/consultation.html
22 February 2011
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is ceasing the use of Configuration C when shipping red cell components as of Tuesday 22 February. We have identified anomolies with the temperature stability of this packing configuration.
21 February 2011
CSL Biotherapies has recently received reports of two patients with von Willebrand disease (VWD) being underdosed with Biostate due to a misunderstanding regarding the prescribing haematologist's dosing instructions. In both cases the patient outcome was advised as satisfactory.
Biostate Advisory Statement 188 KB
10 December 2010
The publication of a clinical update on the diagnosis and management of IDA in the latest MJA, by the Australian Iron Deficiency Expert Group (AIDEG), describes IDA as an important public health problem in Australia and around the world.
29 September 2010
The National Blood Authority (NBA) has arranged for an alternative imported IVIg product, Flebogamma 5% DIF, to be supplied under the National Blood Arrangements. Read more...
27 September 2010
Octapharma Australia Pty Ltd has agreed to a precautionary voluntary recall of all batches of Octagam IVIg solutions from the Australian market, due to safety concerns regarding an increased evidence of thromboembolic complications. Read more...
20 September 2010
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has commissioned a review of current deferral policies relating to the sexual activity of blood donors. Read more...
The National Blood Authority has released its second Australian Haemovigilance Report. Read more...
01 July 2010
Last July, the Blood Service has implemented a new process for managing orders for blood components and fractionated products. In doing so, we aim to deliver improved customer service through a more streamlined order approval process. Read more...
06 May 2010
From early September 2010, all red cells and platelets supplied by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service will have been tested for HBV DNA using the NAT triplex assay.
This change is consistent with international best practice for NAT screening of blood donations and will provide the opportunity to further improve the quality and safety of the Australian blood supply, benefiting both blood product recipients and blood donors. Read more...
01 December 2009
Intravascular haemolysis (IVH) leading to death has been reported in patients treated for immune thrombocytic purpura (ITP) with WinRho SDF.
IVH can lead to clinically compromising anaemia and multi-system organ failure including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Read more...
17 June 2009
Donors with flu-like symptoms are always deferred.
It is important that donors do not donate blood should they develop fever of 38 ºC or higher and one or more of the following symptoms:
09 February 2009
20 November 2008
We are pleased to advise that 100% of red cells supplied by the Blood Service nationally are now prestorage leucodepleted. Read more...
20 November 2008
On 8 December 2008, the Blood Service will commence national testing of selected Group O apheresis platelets for high titre anti-A and anti-B.
04 September 2008
CSL Bioplasma has advised that Biostate® has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in the treatment of bleeding episodes in patients with von Willebrand disease, effective as of 27 August 2008.
01 July 2008
Following the April meeting of the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (AHMC), the Blood Service is pleased to announce the timetable for implementation of 100% leucodepletion of red cells has been agreed. Read more...
25 July 2008
CSL Bioplasma has recently conducted a full packaging review to ensure the carton, label, flip-off cap, and foil crimp of all plasma-derived therapeutics are optimally designed to support correct and simple use.
CSL Bioplasma Fractionates 214 KB
This document outlines a full description of the enhancements and colour coding for CSL Bioplasma plasma-derived therapeutics.
25 March 2008
From 28 April 2008, all Blood Service platelet components will be screened for bacterial contamination. Worldwide, bacterial contamination of platelets is recognised as the most significant residual infectious risk of transfusion in developed countries. Read more...
03 March 2008
The Criteria for the Clinical Use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) in Australia has been developed to assist clinicians and transfusion medicine professionals to identify the conditions and circumstances for which the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is appropriate and funded under the National Blood Agreement. Read more...