Single unit blood transfusions

Working to implement a single use policy

In 2018 we ran a number of projects with the hospitals below, which developed resources which may help other hospitals to implement a single use policy.

This follows our 2014 pilot project with Kings College Hospital, to introduce a single unit transfusion policy for non-bleeding medical patients in an acute medical unit which resulted in a 40 - 45% reduction in red cell use over a 6 month period.

Royal Derby Hospital

Appropriate red cell use in adults

Summary  and report on empowering lab staff to improve the appropriate use of red cells in adults 

North Bristol Hospital

Single unit transfusion in orthopaedic surgical patients (pptx)

South Warwickshire Foundation Trust

Red blood cell: single unit audit - data collection log (xlsx)

Salford Royal Hospital

Are we using blood transfusion resources appropriately on an emergency admissions unit in a busy university hospital?


Don't give unit two without review


The Patient Blood Management (PBM) recommendations endorsed by NHS England state (2014):

'Transfuse one dose of blood component at a time e.g. one unit of red cells or platelets in non-bleeding patients and reassess the patient clinically and with a further blood count to determine if further transfusion is needed.'

The British Society for Haematology (BSH) administration guidelines 2017 and NICE Blood Transfusion guideline (NG24) 2015 support a single unit transfusion approach.

Single unit transfusion applies to stable, normovolaemic adult in-patients who do not have evidence of clinically significant bleeding.

If you would like more information, please contact your Patient Blood Management Practitioner.