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Urgent appeal for blood donations to prevent elective surgeries being cancelled

Regular donors can now attend walk-in clinics as part of efforts to boost supplies.

AN URGENT APPEAL for blood donations is being made in a bid to avoid hospitals having to cancel elective surgeries.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is operating walk-in clinics this week as part of a drive to secure an additional 5,000 donations over the next eight weeks.

The IBTS said it has issued more blood than it has collected since the start of June.

A ‘pre-amber alert letter’ was issued to all hospitals last week, restricting blood issues to emergency orders and patient specific requests only for the O positive, O negative, A positive, A negative and B negative groups, which are in short supply.

It’s hoped the move will prevent the need to issue an ‘amber alert letter’ – the next escalation level of the blood shortage plan – which includes cancelling elective surgical procedures that require blood support.  

The walk-in clinics will be operating at all IBTS donation centres around the country.

“Since the start of June, we have issued more blood than we have collected as hospital demand has remained strong.

“The decline in units collected is most likely due to more donors travelling and Covid-19 levels increasing across the country again,” explained IBTS Operations Director Paul McKinney.

“We are asking regular donors who are texted this week to please attend their nearest walk-in clinic and new donors should register their interest on giveblood.ie, so the IBTS can contact them about attending a future clinic, when we are next at a location near them.

“For scheduled clinics after this week we are urging donors to book an appointment as usual and in particular to consider giving blood if they are eligible before they go on holidays.

“We appreciate it may take longer than normal to donate at walk-in clinics during this critical appeal. We sincerely apologise for that and would ask donors to bear with us. We feel this is a necessary step to take so we can bolster the supply,” McKinney added.

The IBTS expects to revert to blood donation appointments next week. Mask wearing is still mandatory for staff and donors at donation clinics.

Along with permanent locations, mobile blood donation clinics will be in operation in the following places this week:

  • Monday: Clara Co Offaly, Cooley, Co Louth, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Tralee, Co Kerry, Kilmallock, Co Limerick.
  • Tuesday: Birr Co Offaly, Dunleer Co Louth, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Tralee, Co Kerry, Kilmallock Co Limerick.
  • Wednesday: Birr, Co Offaly, Virginia, Co Cavan, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Tralee, Co Kerry, Kilmallock, Co Limerick.
  • Thursday: Birr, Co Offaly, Virginia, Co Cavan, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Tralee, Co Kerry, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick.
  • Sunday: Mountbellew, Co Galway.
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