75 years of caring

The Blood Service was established in 1948 as a nationwide blood service provider to handle everything from blood donations to delivering blood products to hospital patients. Over the years, the Blood Service has become a cornerstone of Finnish health care that provides Finnish hospitals with blood products, stem cell transplants and laboratory services for treating patients 24/7.

Everything starts with the donors. Without voluntary donors, there would be no Blood Service. Blood donations were started in Finland by the scouts in the 1930s.

The need for blood donations and transfusions increased during the war years 1939–1945. It lay the foundation for a national blood supply chain that the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service began to develop and maintain 75 years ago.

A picture from 1944, where blood is poured into a bottle directly from a donor lying on a bed.
Blood donation in Äänislinna in 1944.

The technology and practices have changed a great deal over the years. During the early years of the Blood Service, blood was collected in glass bottles and given to patients as whole blood. In the current production process, the blood is separated into red blood cells, platelets or plasma-derived medicinal products, and these components of blood are given to patients according to their individual treatment plans.

It is also current policy to analyse the donated blood for any bloodborne viruses causing serious diseases. In the laboratories, automation and robotics have largely replaced manual labour.

A black and white photo of a woman doing a manual blood type testing in 1960.
Before the development of automation, blood group testing were done manually using plastic well plates. Photo from 1960.

The Blood Service started doing research already in the 1950s and is now a unique blood cell competence centre in Finland. Most recently, the Blood Service expanded its operations to include biobank services and the Advanced Cell Therapy Centre, which supports the development of cell therapies.

Despite the technological advances, the basic mission of the Blood Service has not changed. We cannot make blood artificially so we need helpful volunteers who are willing to give up their time and lend a helping hand to the patients. This remarkable act of kindness is still alive and well today.

Blood service employees wearing protective suits.
Cell production center in the premises of Veripalvelu in 2022 in Vantaa. The new premises have also enabled new technology for the development of cell therapies, among other things.

The anniversary year brings new initiatives

The themes for the anniversary year in particular are appreciating donors and modernising the Blood Service’s operations to meet the needs of our core mission, the Finnish blood supply chain.

The most significant change is the relocation of the Blood Service to new premises in Vantaa in autumn 2022, which supports operational reliability and enables the use of new technologies. The cell production centre in Vantaa, for example, facilitates the production of blood products for new cell therapies.

New digital service platforms will also be deployed during the anniversary year to improve the services for blood donors, including a new mobile app for blood donors and a new website.

Read more about our history