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Increase in demand for O D negative red cells. Updated guidance published by the National Blood Transfusion Committee

Letter of communication 18 July 2019

Consent for transfusion

In 2011 the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) proposed a series of recommendations regarding patient consent for blood transfusion. 

Following a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 (Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11) there is an increased duty for a clinician to provide a patient with accurate, up-to-date information about the proposed medical or surgical procedure. Courts now endorse and expect a collaborative approach to consent.

Informed consent

The Test of Materiality applies:

"The doctor is... under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment, and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments. The test of materiality is whether, in the circumstances of the particular case, a reasonable person in the patient’s position would be likely to attach significance to the risk, or the doctor is or should reasonably be aware that the particular patient would be likely to attach significance to it". 

The material risk of transfusion to an individual 

This can only be determined by the clinical team caring for that patient. 

Data and information to support clinical staff in their discussions with patients

Risk of transfusion teaching slide (PDF) - slide 22

2017 report (PDF) - see component issue data (chapter 2) and headline data: Deaths, major morbidity and ABO-incompatible transfusions (chapter 3) 

Report summary infographics (PDF)

Definitions of SHOT reporting categories (PDF)

  • National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Research & Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU), University of Edinburgh

Resources to support informed consent

Our existing stock is available to hospitals free of charge; if you would like some copies please contact us at NHSBTCustomerService@nhsbt.nhs.uk advising how many copies you would like and a delivery address. Once our stocks are exhausted we will not be able to provide further hard copies of this resource. However, an electronic copy of the resource is available should you wish to order further supplies from your local printing supplier.

Consent pad

Sticker template

Resources from Trusts which have agreed to share their processes and findings to help others implement consent 

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Consent - another boring audit (PDF)

Transfusion consent for medical / obstetric patients (PDF)

Dudley Group of Hospitals

Supplementary consent form to exclude blood transfusion template (DOC)

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Adult Blood Transfusion Care Pathway

Pathway for administration of blood components / products (PDF)

NHSBT Patient Blood Management Practitioner Team

Consent for transfusion template  (DOC)

Patient consent for blood transfusion (PPT)

Transfusion matters - patient involvement and empowerment (PDF)

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Consent sticker (PDF)

Consent sticker information (PDF)

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Consent for transfusion: discussion checklist (PDF)

Written consent for transfusion - Why on earth not? (PDF)

Written consent for transfusion - Why and how we did it & results of implementation (PDF)

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in association with NHSBT

Having a blood transfusion - YouTube video which explains all you need to know about having a blood transfusion

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Blood prescription pathway (PDF)