The WCBS Therapeutic Phlebotomy service has implemented several changes as of 1 March 2022 to streamline our programme, meet new requirements in our quality assurance system (ISO15189) and align with the therapeutic phlebotomy services offered in other parts of the country.

The first change is the way in which phlebotomy intervals will be prescribed for therapeutic donors. Instead of requesting an indefinite phlebotomy interval on the form, we shall now require you to stipulate a finite number of phlebotomies at a specific interval (e.g. four weekly x 4) after which your patient will automatically revert to an 8 weekly phlebotomy interval, like regular blood donors.

In the event that you wish to change or extend the initial phlebotomy prescription, please email our staff at for this to be adjusted on our system. This communication is only required if the phlebotomy interval is more frequent than every 8 weeks.

There are several reasons why we have implemented this:

  • This system aligns with the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) so will assist with facilitating the movement of therapeutic donors across provinces.
  • For donor safety – the revised system encourages donors to seek confirmation of phlebotomy intervals from their own clinicians when the prescription is complete.
  • It is the medicolegal responsibility of the referring clinician, not WCBS, to review and prescribe the patient’s phlebotomy interval.

We have also introduced ferritin testing for all blood donors at specified intervals. Please note that donors will only be contacted with their result if the value is below 15ug/l or above 500ug/l, except for therapeutic donors who are being managed for iron overload conditions who will be sent their ferritin result by SMS at each donation.

Another change happening later in the year is the cessation of full blood count testing for therapeutic donors with secondary polycythaemia (e.g. from smoking or testosterone use). We shall provide you with more information and motivations for these changes nearer the time.

Please find the new referral form on our website by clicking here:

For more information about the WCBS therapeutic phlebotomy programme, please contact Sister Tania Paarman, Manager – Specialised Donations ( or Dr Caroline Hilton, Head – Medical Division (