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Blood saving lives

We strive to improve efficiency in blood management and provide a positive experience for blood donors in order to keep a sustainable and sufficient national blood supply.

Blood donors save the lives of people like seven-year-old Coco, who was diagnosed with a chronic condition at just two months of age. Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency is a rare genetic condition that requires treatment with blood transfusions every three to four months. Coco’s mother Alison says that their family are indebted to all the amazing blood donors and can’t thank them enough for their generosity and kindness. Photo: Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Providing blood in Australia

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is fully funded by Australian governments for the domestic provision of blood products and services. This year we collected 1.3 million lifesaving blood donations through our 78 donor centres and 31 mobile donor units. We also launched a new five-year plan, At the leading edge, which aims to maintain our position among the best blood services in the world through a range of strategic improvements to our performance, outcomes and national network.

We successfully met our 2013/2014 targets, providing whole blood as well as 545 tonnes of plasma for processing into blood products. We also achieved the best match of red cell inventory to patient demand on record, with supplies remaining in inventory sufficiency bands for 315 days. Under the government funding agreement, the Blood Service can retain up to $5 million of the Main Operating Program (MOP) surplus with the balance above $5 million required to be returned to the Government. The amount of the government grant refundable in 2013/2014 was $40.4 million. This represents the efficiencies the Blood Service has been able to generate within the MOP over the funding period.

We continually strive to enhance our service to blood donors. As part of this we have implemented a system upgrade to our National Contact Centre, which enables us to have more than 50,000 conversations with donors per week. New donor support software was also implemented, improving our staff’s ability to determine a person’s eligibility to donate.

After years of research, we supplied a process for preparing deep frozen blood components to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This work extends the shelf-life of blood components to up to 10 years by adapting technologies in freezing and thawing blood, and will provide the ADF with blood components when deployed to remote locations.

We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace. The launch of our gay, lesbian and other workmates (GLOW) network last year has improved understanding of the challenges faced by our lesbian, gay, bi, trans or intersex (LGBTI) colleagues. This was recognised at Pride in Diversity’s Australian Workplace Quality Index awards, where we were placed in the top 20 LGBTI employers and awarded the highest ranking not-for-profit organisation.

Supporting blood services overseas

Australian Red Cross, together with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service works on a range of international humanitarian blood projects across Asia and the Pacific, helping to create a safe and reliable blood supply in our neighbouring nations. Funded by the United States government, we are in our third year of working with the Cambodian National Blood Transfusion Service to improve the quantity and quality of blood available to patients across Cambodia. We partner with local Red Cross societies in Solomon Islands and Tibet to motivate, recruit and retain volunteer blood donors, increasing the availability of safe blood for patients. We are also helping to develop a regional Pacific blood transfusion leadership network.

“Australian Red Cross prides itself on the provision of high quality blood and blood products and is constantly striving to improve its Blood Transfusion Service, which is already among the best in the world.”

1993-1994 Annual Report

One in three Australians will need blood in their lifetime, but only one in 30 donates. Call 13 14 95 or visit to save lives.