The manufacture of blood products involves separating the donated whole blood into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. We are responsible for the distribution of blood products to all Finnish hospitals in accordance with the needs of medical care.
The coronavirus pandemic had surprisingly little effect on the need for blood products as a whole. In the spring, at the beginning of the pandemic, the use of blood products dropped sharply but returned to normal fairly quickly, contrary to expectations. In the second half of the year, the need for blood products was at times even greater than in 2019.
The rapid recovery in demand in the early summer required close monitoring of the situation, as well as collaboration with the order centre, blood donation operations and the communications department. As the situation stabilized, blood stocks remained good and the donated blood was utilized efficiently in manufacture.
179,387 red blood cell products were sold to clients for patient treatment, 5.8% less than in 2019. The need for the other main product, platelets (thrombocytes), diminished in hospitals by less than one per cent. Sales of medicinal frozen plasma (octaplasLG) to hospitals by the Blood Service fell by almost eight per cent.
The pandemic had a considerable effect on the logistics of blood products. Reductions in air travel, in particular, made it difficult to transport urgent products. Cuts in bus transport and frequent timetable changes too required continuous monitoring and arrangements with clients. Taxis were used even in regular long-distance deliveries. All in all, we adapted to the new situation fairly well.
The changeover to a new production control data system was a huge challenge during the pandemic and burdened the entire organisation. Despite this, the system was successfully introduced and product deliveries to clients went as planned with no interruptions.