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Blood transfusion data, audit and quality improvement

Published on 19 July 2023

Studying information on the clinical use of blood components allows us to better understand the demand for blood components and how demand changes over time.

That helps blood collection programmes make adjustments to maintain supplies and helps us make sure that blood donations are used most effectively to meet patient need.


In Scotland up-to-date, national information on the stocking and clinical use of blood components is provided by the SNBTS data marts Account for Blood (AfB) and the Scottish Transfusion Epidemiology Database (STED). Data is available from January 2009.

Account for Blood securely collects systematic, validated data from hospital blood banks laboratory information systems (LIMS) on a daily basis. The data is linked and stored in our corporate data warehouse. Account for Blood data is linked with inpatient (SMR01) episode records to form STED: initially STED covered only major blood-using surgical procedures but was expanded in 2021 to include all medical indications.

We use the data to produce information dashboards for hospital blood banks and clinical teams that set out local and national blood use.

We also provide information in response to data requests by SNBTS and NHSS colleagues, in support of audit and quality improvement initiatives.

We apply the Information Service Division (ISD) Statistical Disclosure Control Protocol when generating and releasing data.

How to request data

You can get in touch with details of your request by email:

All requests for information, data or reports must be documented in writing and are logged.

Requests for patient-level information including the processing of CHI numbers must be made using the AfB/STED Confidential Data Release form and supported by a responsible clinician. If you need data for research purposes, you’ll need to provide proof of ethics and research governance approvals, and funding arrangements.

As a condition of fulfilling the request, you or your organisation must acknowledge SNBTS as the source of the information in any publication, presentation or report where the information.

SNBTS Dashboards

A range of interactive SNBTS Dashboards can be accessed at: SNBTS Dashboard

Blood Bank Dashboard

Designed to support local hospital blood banks with management of blood component inventory, logistics service, transfusion related clinical incidents and staff training requirements.

Health Board Transfusion Overview Dashboard

Designed to support local hospital blood banks and Hospital Transfusion Teams with understanding component use by blood group. Includes summary pages on Patient trends, Weekly and 12-week trend transfusion overviews and individual summary pages for blood banks.

SNBTS Stock Levels Dashboard

Red cell inventory held across the national manufacturing site and the Glasgow stock holding hub, refreshed daily at 9.30am. Sharing SNBTS inventory levels can help blood banks to address inventory challenges with O D Negative and A D Positive.

Dashboard access is controlled and limited. If you no longer need access, please let us know. If there is no activity against user accounts for over six months, access will be removed. The recommended browser to use is Chrome or Internet Explorer.

If you need any help or assistance, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help with training or instructions and discuss future developments.

SNBTS Transfusion Team Audit and QI Programme

The overall aim of the programme is to undertake national audit against current guidelines and standards relating to clinical transfusion in order to assess safety, efficacy and appropriateness of practice, and to identify areas for improvement.

Well-conducted audit is widely recognised as a tool for driving health care quality improvement (QI). QI projects utilising methodology such as the Model for Improvement and Statistical Process Control charts are a growing area of focus for the team.

The programme aims to address the following objectives:

  • Making best use of the blood donor gift
  • Improved patient safety relating to transfusion
  • Increased awareness of the appropriate use of blood for patients.
  • Effective blood stocks management

Previous topics include major haemorrhage, sample acceptance, plasma components, iron deficiency anaemia. Proposals for a specific audit question are welcomed from clinical colleagues by completing the Audit Proposal Form. Proposals will be scored by SNBTS Transfusion Team using specified criteria and will then be prioritised by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Committee (SNBTC) for inclusion in the audit programme.

The programme has been increasing its use of national data sets such as Account for Blood and STED to identify the audit sample and to reduce onerous manual data collection. The programme aims to utilise electronic systems where possible to minimise paper case note review.

The programme is approved by the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel. The programme team also liaises with the NHSBT National Comparative Audit to support participation by Scottish hospitals and to collaborate on future audit topics.