Blood transfusion 

A blood transfusion involves taking blood from one person (the donor) and giving it to someone else.

You may need a blood transfusion for a number of reasons, including:

  • to replace blood lost during major surgery, childbirth or a severe accident
  • to treat anaemia that has failed to respond to other treatments; anaemia is a condition where a person has low levels of red blood cells
  • to treat inherited blood disorders, such as thalassaemia or sickle cell anaemia

UCLH is one of six blood establishments in the UK and is one of the largest and most complex in relation to the types of patients we treat.

The blood transfusion laboratory is based at 60 Whitfield Street and provides a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week service covering patients at all of the UCLH hospital sites.

The service processes 65,000 blood samples per year and issues 70,000 blood components. This plays a vital role in the treatment of patients with a variety of conditions, including:

  • haemoglobinopathies
  • haemato-oncology / bone marrow transplants
  • patients on the Obstetric Unit and Fetal Medicine Unit
  • other specialist services.

The department also issues plasma products and albumin for specialist apheresis, and fractionated blood components to meet the needs of the UCLH Haemophilia Centre.

The blood transfusion team comprises three consultant haematologists, a transfusion specialist registrar, a transfusion practitioner team and blood transfusion laboratory staff. The department is MHRA and UKAS compliant.


Dr Marie Scully, Consultant Haematologist

Dr Marie Scully

Dr Scully was appointed as a consultant at UCLH in 2007, with an interest in haemostasis and thrombosis. She is clinical lead for haematopathology and blood transfusion at UCLH. She is also the lead for TTP and associated TMAs, including aHUS. UCLH is a specialist centre for TTP.

Full consultant profile

Dr Mari Thomas, Consultant Haematologist

Dr Mari Thomas is a new Haematology consultant joining the Thrombosis team at UCLH. She recently completed a PhD at UCL looking into the role of antibodies in TTP. As part of the TTP team, she manages both inpatients and outpatients with TTP and other thrombotic microangiopathies, such as atypical HUS. Her other areas of interest include venous thromboembolism in cancer patients.

Dr Thomas is starting a new clinic for cancer VTE in the UCLH MacMillan Cancer Centre. She also specialises in obstetric haematology, running a joint antenatal clinic for high-risk pregnancies with Dr Cohen and obstetric colleagues. She acts as liaison between the transfusion laboratory and the Fetal Medicine Unit for women with red cell alloantibodies in pregnancy.

"The most rewarding part of my work is working with a great team and seeing our research findings translated into better outcomes for patients."

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Dr John-Paul Westwood, Consultant Haematologist

Dr John-Paul Westwood specialises in Haemostasis and Thrombosis, including Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), and bleeding disorders. He also work as a Transfusion consultant. His research intrests are in non-malignant haematology, including TTP and ITP. I am also involved in supporting clinical trials in these disease areas.

“The most rewarding part of my work at UCLH is treating patients with varied and often challenging diseases in the field of haemostasis and thrombosis”

Full consultant profile