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Collection of the patient sample for pretransfusion testing begins a complex chain of events in the transfusion process. Hospitals in England and North Wales were surveyed to compare local policies against recommendations of the British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH). Hospitals also measured the frequency of rejected and miscollected samples [designated as wrong blood in tube (WBIT)]. 185 of 360 (51.4%) hospitals returned questionnaires and 182 of 185 (98%) hospitals reported that a policy for sample collection existed. Apart from frequent omission of the gender of the patient, there was 96% compliance with all mandatory identifiers of the BCSH guidelines. Practice allowing additions or changes to labelling on sample tubes and request forms varied. 3.2% (14 114/445 726) of samples submitted were rejected for various reasons, the most frequent being incomplete or missing information (49.5% of the total rejected samples). The corrected mean frequency for WBIT in the 27 hospitals with one or more observed WBIT was 1 in 1501 samples (95% CI: < or =1129.09 to < or =1872.91), and the median corrected frequency for WBIT was 1 in 1303 samples. This study has identified great variation in the policy and practice for sample collection for pretransfusion testing. Regular tracking of the rates of sample rejection and WBIT could be used to identify poor performance in individual hospitals requiring investigation and action.

Original publication




Journal article


Transfus Med

Publication Date





113 - 121


Blood Specimen Collection, Blood Transfusion, Health Policy, Humans, Medical Errors, Patient Identification Systems, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Risk Management, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom