This editorial by Benjamin and Whitaker is well worth reading. It covers some familiar aspects of why there will always be continuing challenges to provide an adequate and safe blood supply.

Two main themes are covered in this article. The first is the issue of population demographic changes, accentuated by the post 2nd World War baby boom. The increasingly elderly population relying on a smaller and younger pool of donors is spelled out clearly, presenting a great deal of data on how these changes affect both the availability of blood for transfusion and, of course, the changing demand.

Second, the authors yet again state the wide variation in practice seen between different areas both within the United States and also other countries with well developed transfusion services around the world. It highlights the need to be vigilant not only about the varying age demographics but also to be aware of how blood is used by appreciating the variability in transfusion and the need to collect patient specific demographics, including transfusion indications, age, sex and race of the recipients.

– Dafydd Thomas