Blood donations fell by 4 per cent last year

Transfusion service says reduced usage of blood by hospitals is forcing it to cut costs

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service said it needs to collect 3,000 donations a week and has called on people to make a particular effort to give blood during the summer.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service said it needs to collect 3,000 donations a week and has called on people to make a particular effort to give blood during the summer.

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 16:22

Blood donations fell by 4 per cent last year compared to the previous year, according to figures contained in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service’s annual report.

The organisation also said less wastage, improved surgical techniques, and a review at hospital level of transfusion practices may have contributed to a decline in the use of blood and platelets which has had a knock-on effect on income for the service.

“The use of blood and platelets has continued to decline which has serious impact on our income,” said transfusion service chief executive Andy Kelly.

“In 2013, 82,697 donors gave 135,547 donations.

This compares to 85,762 donors giving 141,350 donations in 2012, a drop of just over 4 per cent.”

He said the decline in usage has occurred more quickly than expected, especially in the case of red blood cells; a trend which has been noticed throughout Europe.

“It is unclear what the exact reasons are but undoubtedly some of them are less wastage, improved surgical techniques, reviewing at hospital level of transfusion practice and less elective surgery taking place due to the cutbacks in health spending,” he said.

Mr Kelly said it looked like the trend would continue over the next few years and will force the service to reduce costs further.

He warned that although “there may be some scope for further reduction in costs, this will not be sufficient to meet the expected reduction in income”.

As part of cost-saving and reform measures, the transfusion service moved to single-site testing in 2012.

The next step in this programme is to move to single site processing of blood and blood products in the National Blood Centre in Dublin.

The service needs to collect 3,000 donations a week and has called on people to make a particular effort to give blood during the summer months.