New blood needed? Pioneering Swansea course means better care for patients who need blood transfusions

Patients needing blood transfusions will be able to have them authorised by trained nurses and pharmacists, as well as doctors, thanks to a new course, the first in Wales, accredited by Swansea University and developed in collaboration with the Welsh Blood Service.

Each year around 100,000 voluntary blood donations are collected and transfused to patients in Wales.  At the moment, only doctors are able to authorise transfusions. 

Training other health professionals to authorise the procedure can help cut the time patients have to wait.   In addition, many patients who need transfusions often know their nurse or pharmacist better than they know their doctor, and vice versa.  

Megan Rosser, Director of Continuing Professional Development in the College of Humanand Health Sciences, explained:

Our first group of students consisted of 10 nurses and 2 pharmacists from areas such as paediatric intensive care, renal, haematology, and the teenage cancer unit.  The course comprises two modules, one theoretical and one work-based, with successful students obtaining a graduate or post-graduate certificate.  

“If our patients need blood, they can now get it straight away; they don’t have to wait for the ‘on-call’ doctor to come and write it up”.

Clinicians were closely involved in developing the programme, which was launched by the Welsh health minister Lesley Griffiths.  The Welsh Better Blood Transfusion team had asked for a programme like this, and SwanseaUniversity’s College of Humanand Health Sciences has been the first in theWales to put it into action.

Gail Mooney, director of postgraduate studies in theCollegeofHumanand Health Sciences, said.

It has been exciting to work on the course and to extend people’s roles.  I have learnt a huge amount from the clinicians involved in developing and delivering the programme.