Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 23

With reference to the news story headlined 'Blood transfusion errors soar, but related deaths in decline' (page 6, 8 July), while you are to be congratulated on creating such a nicely emotive headline, is it true?

A quick glance at the incorrect blood component transfused (IBCT) figures produced by Serious Hazards of Transfusion tells us that the number of IBCT incidents outweighs all others and has increased every year since 1996-97.

In fact, total reported incidents show a threefold rise since the start of recording. If we ignore changes in the number of transfusions, then either you are correct and transfusion practice is becoming increasingly slapdash or reporting of incidents is improving year on year.

Andrew Shand Business manager South West Deanery Frenchay Hospital Bristol