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  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.
- Court case press summary
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
- Information leaflets for patients relating to blood transfusion
- Annual review of infections in UK blood, tissue and organ donors
Public Health England (full report and infographics)
- Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT), an independent, professionally-led haemovigilance scheme:
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)
- 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.
Resources from Trusts which have agreed to share their processes and findings to help others implement consent
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Transfusion consent for medical / obstetric patients (PDF)
Dudley Group of Hospitals
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Adult Blood Transfusion Care Pathway
NHSBT Patient Blood Management Practitioner Team
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Consent sticker (PDF)
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
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