Blood transfusion service seeks donations as Covid hits attendance

Service one brink of amber alert as stocks stand at three days across main groups

During the summer IBTS had to import a consignment of blood from the Blood Donation Service in England in order to address a shortage.

During the summer IBTS had to import a consignment of blood from the Blood Donation Service in England in order to address a shortage.

 

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has called on donors to make appointments as bloods stocks are considerably reduced arising out of increased demand and attendance being negatively impacted by seasonal illness and Covid-19.

Operations director Barry Doyle says that blood stocks this morning stand at three days across the main blood groups. Without increased donations we could be possibly facing an “amber alert” situation which would have an immediate implication for hospitals.

Mr Doyle is urging donors to respond as soon as possible to texts which are being sent out.

“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. ”

Mr Doyle says 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.”

Meanwhile, prior to the bank holiday the IBTS issued a “pre amber alert” letter to all hospitals keeping them informed of the situation and urging them to use blood conservatively.

Mr Doyle says blood shortages are not unique to Ireland and many blood services in other countries are also experiencing shortages during the pandemic.

The IBTS has been running appointment only clinics since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

This control has allowed them to manage the flow of donors through their clinics and ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines.

This also means that it is not possible for the IBTS to make a traditional appeal for donors as they could not be safely accommodated on a walk-in basis.

“We are asking existing donors to ring us when they get a text from us about their local clinic and make an appointment to attend. New donors who are interested in becoming donors can register their interest on www.giveblood.ie and we will make contact when a donation clinic is scheduled at a location near to them.”

During the summer IBTS had to import a consignment of blood from the Blood Donation Service in England in order to address a shortage.