Background: The system of accreditation of Italian transfusion structures (Transfusion Services and blood donation centres, these latter being managed by voluntary associations) guarantees the National Health Service that the service provided to citizens, patients and donors who use these structures, is correctly authorised, meets further, additional requisites relative to the quality of health care, and that these are documented and controlled during a formal audit.
Materials and methods: We present here the experience gained, in the period 2007-2009, by the Transfusion Service of the local health authority of Ravenna and of the AVIS blood donation centres in the Province of Ravenna (Italy). These blood donation centres are managed in the context of a stipulated arrangement in which agreement was reached concerning not only the purposes, but also the quality requirements of the blood product collection, the operative methods, and the indicators and surveillance of non-conformities, in order to monitor and improve the blood supply system in the province.
Results: Our data show that, over time, there was a improvement in the distribution of collection of whole blood across the days of the week and better training of staff, as demonstrated by a reduction in non-conformities. Analysis of the data encouraged the identification of a new organisation with computerisation of the blood donation centres and their progressive merging.
Conclusions: There are numerous, precise legislative and technical indications to guarantee the quality of performances in transfusion medicine, from the collection of blood to its allocation. These indications constitute a qualified basis for the development of accreditation models whose final validation is the duty of specifically designated regional and national institutions. The procedure for obtaining accreditation, planned and carried out uniformly by the Transfusion Service and the voluntary association's donation centres was an occasion for professional staff to improve the quality of the services delivered. Collectively, these aspects have increased transparency and improved the system of blood supply in the province of Ravenna.
Keywords: Audit; Blood donation centres; Transfusion Services.