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United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has four Blood Transfusion Services based in each of the four countries comprising the United Kingdom. These are; NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) for England, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS), the Welsh Blood Service (WBS) and the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS). The UK Blood Transfusion Services have a body to coordinate co-operation between Services called the UK Forum. The UK Forum has a Joint Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) concerned with advice and standards which publishes the “Red Book” of transfusion guidelines, operating UK wide change notices on, for example, changes to donor deferral criteria. An independent body, the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) advises UK ministers and health departments on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion/transplantation. Each blood service is accountable to health ministers in the relevant UK home country.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority, dedicated to saving and improving lives through the wide range of services they provide to the NHS.

Each year NHSBT collects around 1.5 million voluntary blood donations, which are processed by the authority before being delivered to hospitals and the patients who need them. NHSBT relies on 1.3 million registered donors as it delivers a safe and reliable supply of blood components, diagnostic services and stem cell services to hospitals in England. Their therapeutic services teams work with hospital clinicians to provide patients with life-saving treatments for conditions such as leukaemia. This diagnostic work helps find the right treatment for patients with rare blood conditions and our NHSBT’s translational research programme means that they are constantly aiming to develop safer and more effective treatments.

NHSBT provides transplantation services throughout the United Kingdom. It also offers diagnostic and therapeutic services outside the UK.

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS)

SNBTS is a Strategic Business Unit of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) which is accountable for delivering a range of specialist services to the Scottish NHS. NSS is a special agency of government responsible to the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate.

SNBTS has one blood processing and testing centre dealing with approximately 250,000 donations per annum from an active donor base of 140,000 collected by 13 teams operating across Scotland (population of 5 million). There are fixed site collection centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness collecting both blood and platelets. Approximately 25% of blood is collected in fixed sites, 15% through Mobile Donor Units the rest through community sessions.

SNBTS has clinical services in five regional centres which deliver routine blood banking, reference work, H&I, stem cells, therapeutic apheresis and other specialist services.

SNBTS is the preferred provider of Tissues for Scotland and provides bone, tendons, heart valves and skin, along with some stem cell services and islet cell processing.

Welsh Blood Service (WBS)

The Welsh Blood Service (WBS) provides blood components and services to the hospitals of the seven Local Heath Boards throughout Wales. The WBS is a division of the Velindre NHS Hospital Trust, which hosts a number of all-Wales healthcare organisations.

All processing and testing of blood is undertaken at a single site, in Talbot Green near Cardiff. About 110,000 donations are collected annually, mainly from community venues served by mobile collection teams, with about 20% being collected from bloodmobiles. Whole blood and platelet collections are also undertaken in the donation clinic in Talbot Green. The WBS has a centre in Wrexham, North Wales that serves hospitals in that region.

Immunohaematology and tissue typing (H&I) diagnostic laboratories, the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry and UK NEQAS for H&I are also based in the WBS facility.

Northern Ireland BTS (NIBTS)

The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) is a Special Agency responsible for collection, processing, testing and issue of blood components to Northern Ireland hospitals. The population served is 1.877 million. 42,000 red cell components are issued over 8,000 platelet therapeutic doses and over 4,000 fresh frozen plasma components are issued annually. NIBTS is the only blood establishment in Northern Ireland and also provides a regional antenatal testing service and specialised blood group reference service for complex red cell antibody investigations and platelet antibody screening for Northern Ireland hospitals.


NHS Blood and Transplant,
Oak House, Reeds Crescent,
Watford, Herts, UK, WD24 4QN

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service,
The Jack Copland Centre
52 Research Avenue North
Heriot-Watt Research Park,
EH14 4BE

tel: +44131 314 5510

Welsh Blood Service,
Ely Valley Road,
Talbot Green, Pontyclun, UK, CF72 9WB

N. Ireland Blood Transfusion Service,
Belfast City Hospital Complex,
Lisburn Road,
Belfast, UK, BT9 7TS



  • 1.7 million donations
  • 65 million population