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Vol 7, No 1 (2014)
Review paper
Published online: 2014-05-13

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Strategies referring to the organization of the blood service in Portugal — a personal view

Gracinda de Sousa
Journal of Transfusion Medicine 2014;7(1):2-9.


In Portugal there is a mixed system in matters concerning the national blood service. The rea­sons for such state of things are both historical and cultural nevertheless the system has been evolving since its early days from a fully-hospital-based form to the present mixed-system form. The increase in the number of blood collections/donations which has contributed to self-sufficiency in red cell and platelet components/products is the outcome of the strategies/policies described in this article. The activity of blood donor associations has been playing a crucial role in this process with its typical liaison to the community and citizens differentially motivated to donate blood as well as partnership with health structures involved in Blood Establishment (BE) activities. Since 2012, the recently merged Portuguese Blood and Transplant Institute (by Decree No.39/2012 published in February) has launched some novel and more radical community communication strategies in order to recruit new donors mainly from the population of young people as well as donors who had already donated blood but only once. This change constitutes a modification in the communication with donors and with the prospective donors within the population. The participation of Hospital Blood Establishments (BE)/Services in the national blood trans­fusion service is also undergoing important changes with emphasis being now put on blood col­lection “linked” to the 3 Blood and Transplant Centres of the Portuguese Blood and Transplant Institute (PBTI) where the screening, processing and distribution is performed allowing blood donors to continue their “donation story” within hospital premises. Portugal has been evolving with good outcomes in what the national blood service is concerned and the current perspectives are to invest and continue in the pursuit of self sufficiency in blood, blood components and derivatives along with gains in efficiency within this direction at the country level.

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