Maintaining quality in blood banking

Blood Rev. 1995 Mar;9(1):15-24. doi: 10.1016/0268-960x(95)90036-5.


Regulation of transfusion or blood banking facilities has followed, rather than preceded the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry and today we find, in Europe and the United States, the basic regulations developed for the pharmaceutical industry being extended to blood transfusion centres (BTC)*. In this article we explore the role of voluntary accreditation or registration to quality systems standards such as ISO 9000 and discuss how these can be used to advantage and how these standards can provide a substantial base for meeting legislative requirements. In the UK there is also a voluntary accreditation procedure available for all clinical laboratories, known as Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA). Comparisons between ISO 9000, CPA and other standards are made. We also discuss how voluntary registration, particularly to ISO 9000 can provide an excellent basis for moving into more extensive and progressive Total Quality Management (TQM) programmes which in turn bring a variety of benefits, not least of which is increased staff involvement in your organisation. Experience of the route to quality through voluntary accreditation suggests that external assessment delivers new insights into the organisation that cannot easily be supplanted by internal audit. In Europe legislation relating to pharmaceuticals has steadily increased in scope and in detailed requirements from those set out in the 1965 Directive 65/65/EEC. The legislative framework has steadily increased, bringing plasma and plasma products as well as others such as radiopharmaceuticals, into the product licensing requirements. The progression of legislation seems unlikely to cease and it is debatable how long the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and its Inspectorate will accept that BTCs can operate at a level which is different from that of the majority of pharmaceutical manufacturers. The change in emphasis in legislation particularly in Europe means that harm that is caused to a patient by a blood component will warrant redress. The degree of fault attributed to the producer will in part depend on whether they have met the best available standards at all stages in the preparation of the product. If a Transfusion Service can show that it's operation has external accreditation, particularly to an internationally recognised standard such as ISO 9000 and they can show that staff have been properly trained, that equipment is properly supplied and maintained and that the facility is appropriate to the work being carried out, then the liability that exists when something goes wrong will be reduced.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / organization & administration
  • Accreditation / standards
  • Blood Banks / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Blood Banks / standards*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Forecasting
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Total Quality Management