Press room

The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) is proud to be celebrating its 80th anniversary. The Service was established on 24 October 1938 when the first meeting of the Cape Peninsula Blood Transfusion Service took place at the Groote Schuur Hospital.

Various milestones were reached along the way. The donor base grew to 1 394 donors in October 1943 with an average of 182 transfusions a month.  The Service got its first mobile collection unit in 1949 and by June 1961, over 50 000 donors had given blood and the mobile units had visited 352 clinics.  It was a momentous day for the organisation when, in 1967, it was closely involved with the historic first heart transplant that took place at Groote Schuur Hospital. The 1970s saw significant advancements in scientific practices including the replacement of glass bottles with plastic containers for the collection of blood. In 1975, the Cell Separation clinic was opened, a first of its kind in Africa.  A new laboratory facility was set up in 1985 to facilitate blood testing for HIV infection.  In April 1990 the Service moved to its current head office in Pinelands.  Towards the end of 2005 the Service introduced the latest technology to test donated blood – Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT) – which made blood safer than ever.  In 2014 the donor acceptance criteria changed regarding male-to-male sex (MSM) and the WP Blood mobile application was launched in 2017.

“As the only Blood Service in the Western Cape, we are well established after 80 years and the Service continues to deliver on its mission to supply sufficient, safe blood products to patients throughout the Western Cape, while operating at the highest ethical standards and principles,” says Dr Gregory Bellairs, CEO / Medical Director at the WPBTS.

The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service is proud to have grown from a small community organisation into one of the most technologically advanced blood services in Africa and the world.

The Service wishes to express its sincere gratitude and deepest appreciation to all blood donors who have contributed to improving the quality of the lives of thousands of patients and their families. Without donors’ selfless contributions, none of these successes would have been possible.

By building on the solid foundation of the past, WPBTS will continue this life-saving and essential service to serve future generations.

For more information, donors can also call (021) 507 6300, e-mail info@wpbts.org.za or visit www.wpblood.org.za.  Like us on Facebook (WP Blood), follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) and/ or Instagram (WP_Blood) or download the WP Blood App (free download on iOS and Android app stores) for blood stock updates.