Cases of suspected bacterial contamination

Blood cultures must be taken from the patient as soon as possible and before any (additional) antibiotics are given.

The hospital blood transfusion laboratory must contact a NHSBT duty consultant for patients, because other components may need recall. The NHSBT consultant is reached by contacting your local NHSBT Hospital Services Department.

The hospital blood transfusion laboratory must return the pack to the Hospital Services at the local NHSBT centre. A NHSBT bacteriology request form must be completed by the hospital and accompany the returned component. These will then be forwarded to the NHSBT National Bacteriology Laboratory.

Please ring your local Hospital Services to confirm that they will provide a cool box, on the next routine delivery, for the return of the unit(s) to the NHSBT.

The returned unit(s) must be adequately sealed with appropriate pack closure to prevent leakage and contamination. The unit(s) and any attachments must be suitably bagged, before being placed in the cool box provided and sent to the NHSBT. Unit(s) should be stored and transported at 4°C.

If clinically indicated, the pack may be investigated in the local microbiology laboratory prior to dispatching to the NHSBT. Please contact the NHSBT National Bacteriology Laboratory to obtain coupler spikes for sterile sampling of the unit.

The NHSBT National Bacteriology Laboratory must be informed of the results of blood cultures on the patient and any local cultures done on the pack.

Contact details

0208 957 2959 / 2962 and ask to speak to a senior member of staff in the National Bacteriology Laboratory, or email

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