Irish Blood Transfusion Service concerned about Christmas shortages

Group says the days Christmas, New Years fall on could affect number of donations

IBTS operations director, Paul McKinney: ‘The demand for blood is constant’

IBTS operations director, Paul McKinney: ‘The demand for blood is constant’


The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is concerned that blood supplies could struggle over the festive period because of “how Christmas falls this year”, according to a spokeswoman for the organisation.

Ten thousand blood donations are needed between now and January 6th to maintain usual supply, said the statutory body that is responsible for national blood supply.

In a statement, the organisation’s operations director, Paul McKinney, said: “We are effectively losing the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday collection days around Christmas and Monday and Tuesday at New Years which could have a serious impact on the blood supply.”

The IBTS has experienced a fall in blood donations of nearly 2 per cent from the beginning of the year to November compared with the same period in 2017.

The organisation has called on members of the public to donate to meet demand and says it will run 23 additional clinics between 16 December and 6 January to give people the opportunity to do so.

McKinney also said that a lack of supply could have a “serious impact” on blood for babies as blood can be no more than 5 days old when used for a neonatal transfusion.

The IBTS said that there is a “high demand” for O negative blood as people with that blood type are regarded as “universal donors” but stressed that donations of all blood types are needed.

“The demand for blood is constant. We supply product 365 days a year and will issue blood for transfusion to hospitals on Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day,” said Mr McKinney.