SHOT (Serious Hazards of Transfusion) is the UK's independent professionally led haemovigilance scheme.
This year’s Annual SHOT Report looks back at trends and data for the last calendar year, but also highlights several very important messages for us in the present extraordinary times. The data in the report come from across the UK and include material from all areas of healthcare where transfusion is practised.
As in previous years, it is certain that under-reporting is significant. Reporting rates in some of the higher usage Trusts/Health Boards vary twentyfold. Given the cultural, resource and procedural similarities of these organisations, it is highly unlikely that the error and mishap rate varies by anything like this much, so reporting rates are likely to play a large part. One area where this is likely to have greatest impact is in the reporting of near misses, the most fertile learning area.
The leading causes of transfusion-related incidents are, again this year, ‘human factors’ related, with procedural failures and flawed decision-making contributing in large measure. While decision support tools and information technology have gained some traction, and continue to help us progress in these areas, their universal adoption remains some way off. Until these are more widespread, we continue to rely on education and peer pressure to encourage best practice.
A ‘human factors’ approach is key to understanding why errors and accidents continue to occur, despite, in many cases, adequate training, knowledge, expertise and currency. Those areas of hospitals which are under greatest stress and pressure, for example, emergency departments, continue to report a year on year increase in errors. Despite this, transfusion remains very safe indeed,with the risk of serious harm being 1 in 17,884 and death 1 in 135,705 transfused components in the UK.