Urgent appeal made for blood donations to stabilise supply

Blood levels, which are normally at seven days are now down to three days and under

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is calling for an extra 1500 donations over the next three weeks to stabilise the state’s blood supply.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is calling for an extra 1500 donations over the next three weeks to stabilise the state’s blood supply.

 

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is calling for an extra 1500 donations over the next three weeks to stabilise the State’s blood supply.

The service has issued an urgent appeal for donors for the major blood groups – O positive, O negative and A positive.

Blood levels, which are normally at seven days are now down to three days and under.

Director of operations at the service, Paul McKinney, says that it has been a difficult summer and they have noticed that attendance figures have slipped six per cent over the past six weeks.

He said that there has been a global decline in blood donations, and in Ireland the levels have dropped 21 per cent in ten years while the average age of donors has gone from 38 to 41.

“We’re now really challenged trying to get younger donors and to get people into the mindset of being regular donors,” Mr McKinney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It’s always difficult for us during the summer, with haemoglobin levels low anyway, but with donors travelling and routines disrupted because of school breaks etc, this all adds to the problem.

“But over the past six weeks we’ve noticed that attendances have slipped six per cent and the hospital demand has remained constant, so accumulatively we have struggled to keep the levels to seven days.

“We are at a very low level today, that’s why we’re asking donors to come to our clinics over the next three weeks.”

Mr McKinney said they have plans to attract younger donors. “We need to do more to reach these people. We recently appointed a marketing manager and are in the process of developing a new website and we’ve identified the spaces we need to get into to talk to younger donors.

“In the coming months we have a number of campaigns and initiatives planned to get our message across.

“First and foremost today is an appeal that we do need people to attend the clinics.”

According to the service, 3 per cent of the eligible population are active donors while one in four people will need transfusions at some stage in their lives. Blood lasts 35 days, while platelets, a component of blood, last just five to seven days.

There are clinics today in Galway city east, Cork city, Trim, Wexford town, Killarney and normal fixed centres in D’Olier Street and Stillorgan in Dublin. There will be extra clinics on Sunday in Wexford town, Celbridge and Mountbellew.

Details of clinics can be found at www.giveblood.ie or by calling freephone 1850 73 1 137.