Transfusion Committees

Primary roles of the HTC

  • Provide an active forum to facilitate communication between those involved with transfusion

  • Recommend or perform practice audits

  • Monitor transfusion practice compared to institutional, national or international benchmarks

  • Provide education to effect change in practice.

Membership of the HTC

Institutional representatives

  • Clinicians: Surgery, medicine, paediatrics, haematology, oncology, orthopaedics, O&G, anaesthesia, emergency, ICU.

  • Executive management

  • Clinical risk management/Quality assurance

  • Blood bank scientist in charge

  • Nursing

  • Other relevant departments (eg, pharmacy)

External representatives

  • Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) Transfusion Medicine member

  • Invited or ad hoc members

  • Health department.


  • Meet with Head of Surgery, Medicine, Anaesthetics, Haematology, Oncology, Emergency/ICU, O&G, Nursing and Transfusion laboratory to motivate and recruit members

  • Report some examples of difficult cases to your hospital executive to gain their support

    • Make them aware of risk management issues for the organisation

  • Set a date and have a clear initial agenda

  • The initial chair is the most motivated member—You! Define ongoing chair at your first meeting.
  • Deal with a topical issue first

  • Some states mandate a Hospital Transfusion Committee (HTC).

Define role and Terms of reference

  • Always ask: What do you want to achieve?

HTC activities

Goal setting

  • Always have achievable goals

  • Break a big problem into smaller components and choose where to start.

Suggestions for agenda items

  • Reporting and follow up of adverse reactions to transfusion

  • Disseminate and implement national policies and guidelines

  • Development and review of institutional transfusion policies and systems (eg, patient and sample identification)

  • Identification of staff training requirements in clinical and laboratory transfusion practice

  • Development of local educational and training materials as required
  • Collection and monitoring of blood ordering practices, use and wastage statistics, errors and incidents

  • A great place to start is a small practice audit or the implementation of general education which will help raise the profile of the committee while providing an excellent service for the hospital.

Meeting frequency

  • Frequent enough to get things done, often quarterly

  • Pick the best time to suit the majority of the members.

Other tips

  • Executive commitment and active involvement is important

  • Short and informative presentations on topical issues help maintain interest and currency in transfusion practice

  • HTC members have their own networks to assist information exchange—use them

  • Get secretarial support

  • Prompt turnaround of minutes helps motivation of members
  • Consider providing food—attendance is always better

  • Enjoy it.