Blood management

Blood and blood products include:

  • fresh products such as whole blood, red cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and cryo-depleted plasma
  • plasma-derived products such as albumin, immunoglobulins and clotting factors
  • recombinant (manufactured) products such as clotting factors
  • diagnostic reagent products for laboratory testing and screening.


Under national arrangements, blood and blood products are jointly funded by the States and Territories (37%) and the Commonwealth (63%) under a cost share arrangement. Products are supplied, free of charge, to patients in both the public and private sectors.

In 2020/21 the total cost of the blood supply in Australia is forecast to exceed $1.4 billion. Additional to this are the costs associated with transfusion, including storage, testing, transport, product administration time and adverse event management. According to the Cost of Transfusion Study (a study undertaken collaboratively between the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia and Peter McCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria), these costs are estimated to be around twice the product cost per unit.

Comprehensive blood management program

A comprehensive blood management program includes policies, guidelines and criteria around all aspects of blood supply and administration. The underlying principles are:

  • patient centred – minimising patient exposure to unnecessary transfusion;
  • community centred – minimising the impost on blood donors; and
  • health sector cost focussed – minimising the cost to the public purse.

SA Blood Supply Contingency Plan

The South Australian Blood Supply Contingency Plan provides a state-wide framework for blood and blood product supply emergencies and shortages in South Australia.  The plan is designed to align with the National Blood Supply Contingency Plan as well as Emergency Blood Management Plans that are developed by local hospitals, pathology providers and the state-wide pre-hospital retrieval service.


The BloodSafe program is a blood transfusion safety and quality improvement collaborative between SA Health, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, SA public and private hospitals and their transfusion service providers. Information and contacts is available on the BloodSafe web page.

Clinicians working with blood and blood products

Key information has been prepared to assist all clinicians working with blood and blood products.  A list of quick links can be found here, while further information is also available for specific topics: