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- Australia has one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.
- You can donate whole blood every 12 weeks.
- O negative blood is universal and can be given to anyone.
- Plasma and platelet donations can be made every 2 weeks.
- Every whole blood donation can save 3 lives.
- 1 in 3 people will need blood. Only 1 in 30 gives blood.
- Australia needs over 27,000 blood donations every week.
- 470mL of blood is collected when you give whole blood.
- Within 24-48 hours of giving blood, your blood volume is completely restored.
- Giving blood only takes about an hour.
- Plasma donations can be used to make 18 different products.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
- 34% of donated blood goes towards helping cancer patients.
- You can start giving blood at 16.
- The blood service has been collecting blood for over 80 years.
- You can donate double platelets – helping twice as many people.
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.
In many ways, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a reflection of many of the best qualities of Australia and Australians.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service collects, tests, processes and distributes all blood in Australia and has a total annual revenue of $580 million. The Blood Service employs more than 3800 people, with 1970 volunteers, in 83 fixed donor centres and 38 mobile units that visit over 1000 sites annually. As well, we operate four major blood processing centres and two major blood inventory and distribution hubs throughout Australia.
A national organisation
Before the Blood Service came into formal existence in 1996, the collection, processing and distribution of blood products throughout the country's health system was managed by individual State and Territory Red Cross Transfusion Services. The establishment of a national blood service has facilitated new levels of national and international co-operation, resulting in improved consistency, quality and safety across Australia.
Now a large professional organisation with more than 3,800 employees working in scientific, medical and support services, the Blood Service is remarkable in that its very existence depends on the continued support of more than 520,000 generous Australians who give their time and their blood as a gift or donation. This balance between a volunteer base of blood donors and medical and scientific professionals who manufacture and distribute blood products is one of the characteristic features of the organisation, one that has to be constantly monitored and managed. The unique features of the Australian system are the principle of voluntary non-remunerated donors to support delivery of fresh blood components and the striving for self sufficiency in plasma derivatives.
The Blood Service is a division of Australian Red Cross, and subscribes fully to the humanitarian principles that are fundamental to that organisation. Australian Red Cross provides the vital social and professional umbrella under which the Blood Service can carry out its important work with a clear mandate and consistent identity.
At the same time, the Blood Service also plays a central role in the health system of Australia, and is funded almost entirely by the governments of Australia who manage the health system.
The fact that the Blood Service is so highly recognised and regarded, and that it is so strongly supported by Australians and governments, is a tribute to the co-operation between State, Territory and Federal governments over recent years. The Blood Service could only evolve as an iconic Australian organisation with this active support of the people and governments of Australia.