Supply and use of blood


Following is a question by the Professor Hon Joseph Lee and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (February 8):


     At present, the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) is responsible for collecting the blood donated by members of the public for use by public and private hospitals during surgery or emergency procedures. It is learnt that in recent years, the number of Mainlanders undergoing surgery (including delivery by caesarean section) at private hospitals in Hong Kong has risen persistently, but the number of Hong Kong young people donating blood has shown a downward trend, leading to a tight supply of blood from time to time. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(1)  the following in the past three years, (i) the relative ratios and monthly quantities of blood provided by BTS to public and private hospitals respectively, and (ii) the monthly numbers of blood donations made by members of the public;

(2)  the respective numbers of blood transfusion received by patients in public and private hospitals in the past three years, with a breakdown by (i) patients' age, (ii) whether they were Hong Kong residents, and (iii) the specialties that provided treatments to them; and

(3)  whether BTS has formulated special measures to make young people more enthusiastic about donating blood; if BTS has, of the details?



     The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) is the only organisation that provides blood supplies for all public and private hospitals in Hong Kong.  It is responsible for ensuring that sufficient supplies of safe blood are available for clinical transfusion in all hospitals throughout the territory.  The BTS has nine donor centres, six mobile teams (two of which provide services at university campuses) and one mobile vehicle for collecting the blood donated by voluntary non-remunerated donors over the territory.  The nine donor centres are distributed over various districts in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, including Causeway Bay, Central District, Mong Kok, West Kowloon, Kwun Tong, King's Park (headquarters), Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin and Yuen Long.  The mobile teams provide services for secondary schools, tertiary institutions, industrial and commercial organisations, government departments and community groups.  The mobile vehicle is converted from a 40-foot container truck and is parked outside Tai Po Civic Centre on On Pong Road, Tai Po or Fanling MTR Station.  My reply to the various parts of the question raised by Professor Hon Joseph Lee is as follows:

(1) As public hospitals under the Hospital Authority (HA) provide about 90 per cent of in-patient services in Hong Kong, a large proportion of blood currently supplied by the BTS is used by patients in public hospitals.  Less than 10 per cent of the blood supplied is used by private hospital patients.  Annex 1 sets out the amount and proportion of whole blood and red blood cells supplied by the BTS to public and private hospitals respectively in each month of the past three years.  The number of blood donations by members of the public in each month of the past three years is set out at Annex 2.

(2) After BTS distributes the blood to hospitals, blood banks of hospitals will provide the appropriate types and quantities of blood to patients according to their clinical needs.  Unless special procedures or arrangements are required in the blood transfusion for a specific patient, the BTS will not have advance or instant information on the specialty, ward, operating theatre or ambulatory care centre to which the blood is supplied or the background or treatment information of the patient concerned.  However, consolidated data on the clinical use of blood is available at the data repository of the HA for reference purpose.  Annex 3 sets out the proportion of the red blood cells used by major specialties of public hospitals in the past three years.  The BTS does not maintain statistical record on the number of blood transfusion in public and private hospitals, and the age and residence status of the patients concerned.

(3) The demand for blood supply is expected to be on a continuous rise as a result of an ageing population.  The BTS is in urgent need of more dedicated blood donors to help maintain a stable and sufficient blood supply.

     The BTS has been proactively devising and implementing measures to recruit young donors.  To secure young people's donation as a source of blood supply, programmes in various forms are launched to encourage them to start donating blood.  Before the beginning of each school year, the BTS takes the initiative to contact secondary schools in various districts to work out a timetable for talks and mobile teams' visits in the year.  To keep motivating young people to donate blood, the BTS has launched a number of blood donation programmes with different themes over the past few years, including the New Month New Donor Recruitment Campaign, "Be cool, Be a Blood Donor" University Campaign, Student Ambassador Programme and Student Regular Blood Donation Programme and made commemorative badges, certificates and other special souvenirs.  With the increasing number of post-secondary students, the BTS has set up two campus donor centres at the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University respectively.  Mobile teams will make regular visits to the campuses and student hostels of various post-secondary institutions to set up mobile blood donation points.  Besides, special publicity and promotional programmes are designed for post-secondary students.  For example, special events are held on Halloween night and Valentine's Day every year.

     Moreover, in 2016, the BTS organised a publicity programme called Millennium Cool Blood Donors to encourage the first-time donation by secondary students who were born in 2000, the Millennium Year of the Dragon, and turning 16 in 2016.  The number of blood donations by young donors aged 16 in 2016 increased by 8 per cent compared with that in 2015.  To engage young people in blood donation through a multi-pronged approach, the BTS will continue to enhance communication with young people by actively developing social media and video broadcasting platforms for promotion and providing them with more interactive information.

Annex 1

Annex 2

Annex 3

Last Updated 2017-2-9