Challenges for the maintaining the microbiological safety of the UK blood supply

James Neuberger*, Susan R. Brailsford, Gary Mallinson, Michael F. Murphy, Peter Simmonds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The supply of blood, blood products and components in the UK, as elsewhere, is safe, although there is no cause for complacency. Use of blood, blood products and components is not without risk of morbidity and mortality. Transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs) continue to occur and may severely affect the health and welfare of recipients. As indicated by recent and current inquiries, public interest in these TTIs is huge. The risk of TTI can be mitigated but not abolished. Measures to reduce risk include screening of donors, testing of donations and, where appropriate, treatment of donations. The introduction of newer screening tests might identify some infectious donations but come at a cost, which could exceed a justifiable limit. Thus, the recognition, detection, reporting and investigation of cases of possible TTIs need to be improved. Recipients of blood should understand that, although transfusion in the UK is safe, it is not free of risk and so should be provided with full information so that properly informed consent can be given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Royal College of Physicians. All rights reserved.


  • blood transfusion
  • consent
  • patient safety
  • risk
  • transfusion-transmitted infection


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