Health

Calls made for donors to give blood due to national blood supply shortage

The Irish Blood Transfusion services are appealing to blood donors across the country, urging them to come forward and make an appointment to give blood in an effort to fix the major blood supply shortage.

Operations Director Barry Doyle highlighted this issue saying:

“Blood stocks this morning stand at three days across the main blood groups.

” Bank holiday weekends are always difficult as our capacity to collect blood is reduced, the increased incidence of COVID-19 in the community as well as seasonal illness is having an adverse effect on donor attendance.

Therefore, we are asking donors to help us support the health service by making an appointment to give blood when they receive a text from us.”

There are a host of clinics taking place in the Limerick area over the coming days. Eligible donors can arrange an appointment to attend the Caherdavin clinics on November 8 and 9, from 4.15pm until 7.30pm, or in Raheen on November 10 and 11, also from 4.15pm until 7.30pm.

Increased demand for blood

“The increased demand experienced during the summer and sustained into autumn has had an impact on stock levels of all blood groups. COVID-19 continues to impact donor blood collections and our ability to maintain the blood supply has become increasingly difficult,” Mr. Doyle continued.

The current blood supply stock level in Ireland stands at a mere three days across the main blood groups, with supplies of B- blood containing only two days’ worth of blood, and O- blood stocks consisting of three days’ worth of blood.

Mr. Doyle added: “Last week, in advance of the Bank Holiday weekend, the IBTS issued a ‘pre-amber alert letter’ under the National Transfusion Advisory Group blood shortage plan to all hospitals advising them of the current situation and asking them to use blood conservatively.

“If the IBTS has to issue an ‘amber alert letter’ which is the next escalation level of the blood shortage plan, it would have an immediate implication for hospitals and for elective surgical procedures, requiring blood support.”

This issue is not limited to Ireland alone, with many other countries also experiencing blood shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 procedures

To ensure everyone’s safety, the IBTS have been running appointment only clinics since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

These measures have allowed the service to manage the number of donors inside the clinics and allow for adequate social distancing guidelines to be maintained.

The IBTS state that for now, it is ‘not possible’ to make a traditional appeal for donors, as they could not be safely monitored on a ‘walk in’ basis.

Existing donors are encouraged to contact the IBTS upon receiving a text about their local clinic in order to make an appointment.

Anyone interested in becoming a donor can register their interest on www.giveblood.ie and will be contacted when a donation clinic is coming to a location near them.

“We would also ask our donors to bear with us if we cannot get to answer every call when it is made and promise to get to back them as quickly as we can.”

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