Agency says blood donations fell last year
Concerns over suitability of donors led to rise in deferrals
Irish Blood Transfusion Service chief executive Andrew Kelly who said last year was a busy and challenging one for the agency. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
The number of blood donations to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service fell by 3.5 per cent last year even though the number of donors grew, according to the IBTS annual report published today.
The fall of almost 5,000 in donations was the result of a higher rate of deferrals which in turn was due to the strict application on rules governing the haemoglobin levels of donors.
On some occasions up to one in four donations was deferred because of the haemoglobin level.
The IBTS said last year was challenging in terms of maintaining an adequate blood supply.
“However, thanks to the generosity of our donors we managed to meet the needs of patients in our hospital by supply blood and blood components on an ongoing basis.”
Some 104,765 donors attended blood clinics, up over 2,000 on the previous year. However, 141,350 donations were made, which was a decrease of almost 5,200.
In September 2012, in order to maintain the supply of donated blood, the Irish Medicines Board gave the IBTS a 12-month derogation from the required blood haemoglobin levels.
This will allow for a robust donor management programmes to be developed for donation with low or borderline haemoglobin levels.
There were 15,318 first-time donors in 2012, an increase of 8.7 per cent, and over half of these are aged 18-24 years.
IBTS chief executive Andy Kelly said last year was busy and challenging.
“We transferred the recombinant business, we consolidated virology testing, we introduced selective testing for West Nile Virus, we developed and implemented an electronic ordering system and began using the balanced scorecard methodology to develop the next strategic plan.”