“Should private hospitals run own blood banks?” – HSA responds

TODAY ONLINE, 19 Oct 2010

WHY PRIVATE BLOOD BANKS ARE NOT A GOOD IDEA

“WE REFER to the letter by M V Andeny, “Should private hospitals run own blood banks?” (Oct 16).

The Blood Services Group of the Health Sciences Authority has the national responsibility to ensure a secure blood supply that provides all patients in Singapore access to safe blood when they need it. This includes patients in both the public and private hospitals.

We agree with Mr Andeny’s view that blood should be provided based on need rather than ability to pay. Blood and blood components are indeed provided based on clinical need and clinical emergencies have the highest priority. Over the years, the clinical need for blood has continued to rise and this has been mainly due to an increase in transfusions for medical conditions such as cancer and blood disorders.

We would like to assure our blood donors that the national blood programme in Singapore is based on the principles of voluntary and non-remunerated blood donation, and patients who receive transfusions are not charged for the blood they receive.

Patients are only charged a blood processing fee that covers the costs of collection, processing, testing, quality control, storage and distribution of the blood and blood components they receive. The blood processing fee is uniformly charged, and is the same for both public and private hospitals. This fee is partially subsidised by the Government for all Singaporeans.

We do not advocate private hospitals setting up their own blood banks. In a small country like Singapore, a single coordinated blood service is the best model for ensuring that the precious limited resource of blood is efficiently utilised and the safety and quality of our national blood supply is consistently assured.”

Letter from Dr Diana Teo,
Group Director,
Blood Services Group
Health Sciences Authority

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