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A $1million blow-out in the Southern District Health Board's budget for blood products is due to an unexpected surge in demand.
The added cost - a major contributor to the board's $13.5million deficit - has resulted in the organisation designating clinical supplies such as blood as a key focus area.
The SDHB has also revived its dormant blood committee to further monitor its expenditure on blood - which SDHB commissioners were told last week had been $1.1million over budget for the year to date.
A rise in the number of patients in the SDHB region with haemophilia had increased demand for blood products, board specialist services director Patrick Ng said.
``This, along with increased transfusion services, resulted in higher overall blood costs,
``The costs of blood products at Southern DHB fluctuate depending on the number of patients requiring these products and their specific needs,'' he said.
Demand for blood products for patients with haemophilia this year was very similar to 2015, but they had been lower in the intervening years, Mr Ng said.
``The overall cost of blood products, including haemophilia and transfusion requirements, has averaged $7.3million over the last five years.
``Costs in any particular year will fluctuate depending on patient requirements - the lowest was $6.4million (12% lower than the average) and the highest was $8.1million (11% higher than the average).''
The cost of blood products had also increased slightly over time, by between 1%-3% a year.
Some of the costs incurred by the SDHB in treating haemophilia patients was offset by a rebate from the National Haemophiliac Management Group, Mr Ng said.