How to safely collect and deliver blood components for transfusion
Intended for healthcare professionals
how to series    

How to safely collect and deliver blood components for transfusion

Susan Cottrell Senior nurse, transfusion team, Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the regulations and policies regarding the storage, collection and delivery of blood components for transfusion

  • To understand the procedures for collecting and returning blood components

  • To recognise how to minimise the risk of adverse events, including handling and storage errors

Rationale and key points

There are several steps in the transfusion process that aim to ensure the correct blood component is given to the correct patient at the correct time. Ensuring the correct blood component is collected for the correct patient is crucial to safe transfusion practice and patient safety. This article explains the blood component collection and delivery procedure in the UK and outlines the steps that are necessary to enable nurses to collect blood components safely. Nurses in other countries can access their local guidelines and protocols and review these against the guidelines outlined in this article.

• All nurses involved in the collection or administration of blood components must understand safe transfusion practice and the important steps in ensuring patient safety.

• Collection of blood components must only be undertaken by trained healthcare professionals who have been assessed as competent by a trained assessor.

• It is important to understand the types of handling and storage errors that can occur due to human error during the blood components collection procedure.

Reflective activity

How to articles can help to update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

• How you think this article has increased your knowledge and understanding of the blood component collection procedure.

• How you could use this resource to practice safely and inform others on the safe collection of blood components for transfusion, in conjunction with local training and competency assessments.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11644

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Cottrell S (2021) How to safely collect and deliver blood components for transfusion. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11644


Please note that information provided by Nursing Standard is not sufficient to make the reader competent to perform the task. All clinical skills should be formally assessed according to local policy and procedures. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure their practice remains up to date and reflects the latest evidence

The patient safety functions of the National Patient Safety Agency are now jointly undertaken by NHS England and NHS Improvement

Published online: 21 June 2021

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