The effective development and maintenance of satisfactory standards in pre-transfusion testing requires a structured approach in the adoption of a quality management system. Technical errors, clerical errors, the use of non-validated techniques or equipment and non-compliance with established procedures may result in missed incompatibilities and immediate or delayed haemolytic transfusion reactions (SHOT, 1996–2010; Stainsby et al., 2006). The purpose of these guidelines, which replace those published in 2004 (Chapman et al., 2004), is to define the laboratory processes and procedures that should be adopted to undertake pre-transfusion testing.

Following the publication of the 2012 BCSH Guidelines for pre-transfusion compatibility procedures in blood transfusion laboratories, the question has been raised as to the definition of a suitable ‘historical’ sample to be used in conjunction with the ABO/D group on a current valid sample to issue ABO identical blood as compatible for transfusion.  

Declaration of Interests

The BSH paid the expenses incurred during the writing of this guidance. None of the authors had conflicts of interest to declare. All authors have made a declaration of interests to the BSH and Task Force Chairs which may be viewed on request.