The NZBS Reference Laboratory provides an immunohaematology referral service to the Blood Banks, clinical and community laboratories of New Zealand.
A wide range of investigations is undertaken including confirmation or identification of antibodies found during pretransfusion and donor testing, confirmation and monitoring the levels of antibodies found during antenatal testing, resolution of complex antibody problems in patients with multiple antibodies or autoantibodies, identification of rare antibodies and resolution of blood grouping problems.
Other important services include the provision of medical and scientific advice and preparation of the ‘National Immunohaematology Quality Assurance Programme’ (NIQAP).
The laboratory is part of a world-wide network of laboratories and will on occasion send interesting or unresolved samples to the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL) in the UK for further investigation. Similarly the Reference Laboratory participates in and contributes to an international exchange programme for rare red cells types and antibodies. The collection of red cells and antisera maintained by the Reference Laboratory plays a vital part in the resolution of challenging or complex cases.
The laboratory provides a 24-hour / 7 day service although outside of business hours (Monday — Friday 0800 — 1700) investigations are performed by on-call staff.
Requests for investigations out-of-hours require authorisation from a NZBS Transfusion Medicine Specialist who should therefore be the first point of contact in these situations.