Health Minister launches transformational blood production and tracking project

Date published: 15 May 2024

Health Minister Robin Swann has launched a new electronic blood production and tracking system which will help enhance blood safety and quality.

Stephen Beattie, Assistant Director, BSO ITS; Melissa Cochrane, Head of Programmes, BSO ITS; Health Minister Robin Swann, and Karin Jackson, Chief Executive NIBTS
From left: Stephen Beattie, Assistant Director, BSO ITS; Melissa Cochrane, Head of Programmes, BSO ITS; Health Minister Robin Swann, and Karin Jackson, Chief Executive NIBTS

The regional Blood Production and Tracking (BPaT) solution, which is the first of its kind in the UK and Europe, will enable blood to be fully tracked from donation to recipient.

Launching the project at the NI Blood Transfusion Service headquarters today, the Health Minister said: “I can’t overstate the importance of the blood donation and production process. Every week, around 500 people in Northern Ireland require a life-saving blood donation. Blood components are needed to treat patients with cancer, blood disorders or for those who are going through surgery or suffer a trauma. 

 “This transformational project will help us drive improvements and efficiency in the blood production and transfusion processes. I have no doubt that getting to this stage has involved a tremendous amount of work on the part of a large group of people and I am extremely grateful for this.

“This work could not have been completed without partnership and collaboration across the HSC and beyond. For the benefit of patients and staff, I look forward to the BPaT system becoming fully live across the entire region.”

When implemented, blood donors will be able to register to donate blood, book a donation session and complete a health check questionnaire via an online portal. Blood components will then be tracked on distribution to Trust hospitals and onwards to clinical areas for end use.

The system will also allow for full visibility of the blood stock inventory across NI at any time, facilitating greater sharing and more efficient use of blood and blood components.  

 Karin Jackson, Chief Executive of the NI Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) said: “Northern Ireland is leading the way in the development of a unique and very exciting blood transfusion transformation project. We are replacing a system which is over 25 years old and, for the first time ever, it will be possible to interrogate the entire blood transfusion system digitally, which will provide information and insight not previously available.

“We are delighted to have contracted with MAK-System Ltd which has a track record in delivering this technology to blood establishments worldwide. On completion of the regional implementation, a fully functioning digital ‘vein to vein’ donor management, blood production and tracking system will be in place, which will support safe, quality patient care. This will deliver benefits including enhanced processes for staff, improved donor experience, and a more efficient blood supply chain for Northern Ireland.”

Karen Bailey, Chief Executive of Business Services Organisation (BSO) said: “This is a proud moment and I would like to acknowledge all the teams and individuals involved for their exceptional work and effort in getting us to this point, including the Procurement, Legal and BSO Digital Directorate teams. I look forward to seeing the transformation that the delivery of this vital project will have on healthcare throughout Northern Ireland.”

It is anticipated that the solution will be fully live across HSCNI in 2027.

Notes to editors: 

  1. BPaT represents a £20m capital investment, and a further investment of £18m revenue investment over the next ten years.
  2. More information on BPaT is available online: Blood Production and Tracking (BPaT) - Business Services Organisation (BSO) Website (
  3. MAK-System is a worldwide leader in blood management systems, supplying innovative solutions to optimise the collection, storage, and distribution of blood, plasma, tissue and biologics for cell & gene therapies.
  4. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  5. Follow us on X @healthdpt and linkedIn Department of Health NI | LinkedIn
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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