Hello, I'm Shuba Allard

Hello, I'm Shuba Allard.
I'm a consultant haematologist.

I have a joint post.

I work in a hospital,
which is Bart's and The London Hospital,

and I also work at
the National Blood Service at Colindale.

A blood transfusion
involves giving blood

which is collected from a donor,

and it is given to you
through a cannula called a venflon,

which usually goes into your arm.

There are many situations
where you may need a blood transfusion

and in which blood transfusion
may in fact be life-saving.

For example, in an emergency,

say if you and I are involved
in a road traffic accident

or if we lose a lot of blood in relation
to surgery or after childbirth,

a blood transfusion from a donor
may be essential

and in that situation
it could be life-saving.

There are also other situations,

for example people
who are born with anaemia,

where they cannot make enough blood,

where they do require
regular blood transfusions,

again because there may be
no alternative.

Blood is collected from donors.

These are all voluntary, they're unpaid.

The National Blood Service
works very hard

to make donation
as accessible as possible.

We're all busy people
and there are several donor centres

that may either be fixed
at certain spots

or we actually have
more and more mobile donor centres

with increased opportunity for donating
out of hours or, say, weekends.

We ensure that the donors
are medically fit and able to donate.

Once the blood is collected it's brought
to blood centres for processing,

which is very complicated
and involves several steps.

For example,
we split it into what we call red cells,

which is actually used
for treating patients with anaemia.

Many of the testing processes
involve typing the blood

to make sure that you receive the blood
type that is absolutely right for you.

Of course you will be worried
about the risk of infection from blood.

Well, there are many processes
and testing involved at the blood centre

to check that the blood
is as safe as possible,

and the risk of infection from blood
is actually now very low.

When you are in hospital and
actually needing a blood transfusion,

it is essential
that you are identified correctly

to make sure
that you get the right blood for you.

The way this is done is to firstly make
sure you have an identification band.

This is generally
a band placed on the wrist

which has your own
unique identification points

such as your name, date of birth,
hospital number.

You may well find that nursing staff
on the ward

will actually check with you
that the wristband is correct.

This is absolutely essential
to help you receive the right blood.

It's very important
that when you're in a hospital

and there is a chance
that you will need a blood transfusion

that you ask any questions
that you have.

You can ask your doctor or your nurse

or sometimes there are specially trained
nurses called a transfusion practitioner

who can come and speak to you
if you have any specific questions.

There are also many patient information
leaflets that could help you,

and these are also readily available
within the hospital,

so make sure that you do get a leaflet

explaining to you
what a blood transfusion involves

and also follow that up with
any other questions that you may have.

Never be afraid to ask
if you're not clear about anything.