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The lifeblood of Australia

Delivery of life-giving blood, plasma, transplantation and biological products for world-leading health outcomes.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live the life that I always wanted, to be a scientist, to do normal things, to have a job and use it to help other people. That’s amazing to me.
— Hayley

Canberra-based scientist Hayley has an immune deficiency and relies on monthly transfusions of a medication made from the plasma given by blood donors to stay healthy. Photo: Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

This year we delivered 978,196 blood products to hospitals and healthcare providers across the nation. Patients received these life-giving products thanks to the blood given by over half a million Australians through our network of 96 blood donor centres.

We supported Australian lives through our tissue typing services and organ matching for transplants, diagnostic services, world-leading research and supply of human breastmilk for premature babies. We did all of this while maintaining the highest standards of quality for our biological products and ensuring the safety of our donors, patients and employees.

In a momentous change, we decided to transform our brand and identity to reflect the modern organisation we’ve become and our many different life-giving services. Our move from Australian Red Cross Blood Service to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood signals that we’re intent on remaining relevant and making an even greater contribution to healthcare in this country.

Goal: Provision of a safe, secure and cost-effective supply of blood and related products

To deliver leading edge outcomes we will produce high quality, safe products and services that are fit for purpose and meet stakeholders and customer needs

To be at the leading edge of performance we will make the best use of funding by delivering lean operations and a more efficient blood sector, and never take our eye off safety

To deliver a leading edge national network we will maximise the impact of our infrastructure and skills

Donors keep the lifeblood flowing

Australian donors are special people. They volunteer to help thousands of patients lead fuller, healthier lives. This year over half a million Australians gave blood and helped us keep the nation’s blood supply flowing. Over 100,000 of these were new donors, who joined the generous community making a difference to Australian lives. Altogether our donors made an impressive 1,427,659 individual blood donations.

523,688 Australians voluntarily gave blood, platelets or plasma to help others

We launched a new Donate Blood app which allows donors to connect with us anywhere and anytime on their mobile device. We also trialled an electronic donor questionnaire so donors can ditch the paper and move more quickly to their real goal: helping those in need.

Plasma the life-giver

We’re transforming how we collect and process plasma to meet Australia’s growing demand for the plasma-derived product immunoglobulin. Our two plasma donor centres, located in Townsville in Qld and Civic in the ACT, continued to encourage more plasma donors, improve their frequency of donation and help reduce the cost of plasma.

11,500 bottles of pasteurised donor breast milk supplied for vulnerable babies

We built on the learnings from these centres to open our first mixed donor centre in Frankston, Vic, blending plasma donor centre technologies with whole blood collection processes. The new donor centre delivered a simplified process, advanced technology and an improved experience for our donors. This year we delivered a total of 736,361 tonnes of plasma to CSL Behring for fractionation for use in plasma products.

More than blood

Over 400 premature babies received the best possible nutrition, thanks to pasteurised donor breast milk provided by our Milk Bank in its first year of operation in South Australia and New South Wales.

49,400 samples tested as part of our tissue typing and immunogenetics testing services

We also launched a new national organ matching system that is set to bring enormous benefits to Australians needing transplants, as well as the healthcare practitioners who support them. Developed in partnership with the Organ and Tissue Authority, this new software system ensures transplant patients are allocated optimally matched donor organs as speedily and efficiently as possible. OrganMatch uses the latest test methods available, performs post-transplant monitoring and provides access for clinicians and transplant coordinators. In its first 77 days of operation more than 300 organs were matched for patients needing transplants.

What we learned

New test to help mums and babies

Research has helped us better understand how to help newborn babies at risk of a potentially fatal disease. After a decade of research and collaboration, we now offer a sensitive, non-invasive test for pregnant women whose babies are at risk of Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn. The test offers an alternative to risky amniocentesis to help doctors make decisions about how to keep mums and babies safe.

When a pregnant woman with an RhD negative blood type is carrying a baby with RhD positive blood, she can develop antibodies that can endanger any future RhD positive babies. We’ve developed a method to determine the baby’s RhD status from a sample of the mother’s blood, from as early as 12 weeks gestation, allowing the woman and her doctors to appropriately manage the pregnancy.

Because of transfusions we can do all the things other people can do.
— Sonny, blood product recipient, ACT

Our 2019 National Blood Donor Week Ambassadors, Sonny and his older siblings Jesse and Katiah-Ann, have a rare disorder which impairs the immune system. Regular transfusions of immunoglobulin mean they can live normal and healthy lives thanks to the boost to their immunity given by donated plasma. Photo: Australian Red Cross Blood Service.