National Blood Supply Contingency Plan

Under the National Blood Authority Act 2003, the National Blood Authority (NBA) is responsible for ensuring that patients in Australia have an adequate, safe, secure and affordable blood supply. This includes having contingency and risk mitigation measures in place to ensure continuity of the supply of blood and blood-related products and services.

The Jurisdictional Blood Committee supported the development of a plan (the National Blood Supply Contingency Plan​ or NBSCP) that equips the NBA and its key stakeholders with a framework to enable a rapid national response to supply threats.

The NBSCP was endorsed by Health Ministers in April 2008 and integrates with contingency arrangements of suppliers and other government departments, such as the Department of Health and Ageing, to provide an integrated approach to managing risks to the blood supply and their potential impact on the broader health sector.

Download the NBSCP

About the NBSCP

The NBSCP consists of a main document that outlines the risk management approach taken to assessing the possible problems, governance arrangements and the broad overarching strategies in place to mitigate a supply or demand crisis. The plan also aims to improve awareness and ensure appropriate planning is in place for dealing with the impact of blood crises in the health sector.

This main document is supported by an initial range of response annexes to guide key stakeholders in responding to a supply or demand crisis. Further annexes are presently being developed covering platelets and infectious diseases.

The overarching response involves three levels of accountability:

  1. National – which covers the roles of national government bodies such as the NBA, AHPPC and TGA in gathering and communicating information between governments and suppliers and being the link to broader government emergency management arrangements;
  2. Operational – which covers the role of suppliers in managing required operational activities around collection, manufacture, distribution and interface with the clinical community; and
  3. Clinical – which covers the role of clinicians and pathology providers in reducing demand through strong triage and vetting processes based on clinical needs.

The response by the clinical community is a key and vital element of the plan. It is important that institutions have in place arrangements to support the clinical management of blood and blood products in a crisis and to assist clinicians in responding to patient requirements in the most effective manner.

Two quick reference guides have been developed to assist the clinical community understand their important role and responsibilities and to guide them in developing an approach to prioritising red cell transfusions.

NBSCP activation - July 2012

The National Blood Supply Contingency Plan (NBSCP) was last activated on 3 July 2012 due to an outage of the Blood Service National Blood Management System (NBMS).

The NBMS is used to manage the supply chain of blood, including manufacture, testing, inventory and distribution.

The NBA liaised closely with suppliers to monitor possible impacts during the outage and no products were unavailable during this period of contingent arrangements and there was no material impact on any blood or blood product production.  The NBSCP was deactivated on 11 July 2012.

The NBA also reviewed its standard operating procedures for the NBSCP and these were updated to take into account the lessons learnt from this activation.