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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 28 January, 2020
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Blood supply for hospitals dangerously low ahead of St Patrick's Day

Additional clinics have been set up to receive donations.

Image: Shutterstock/Matej Kastelic

THE IRISH BLOOD Transfusion Service (IBTS) has raised concerns it may not be able to maintain blood supplies to hospitals over the coming two weeks.

While hospital requirements have been down by 4% in recent months, donation levels have dropped significantly (10-12%).

“Donors have been attending in their usual numbers over the last six weeks.

“However, blood donations have remained low due to the fallout from the haemoglobin measurement technology issue identified at the beginning of November”, IBTS operations director Paddy Bowler said.

Four months ago the IBTS announced it had identified a problem with a test it introduced in July 2014 which failed to identify all donors with anaemia.

Bowler said that, up to October 2015, one in seven donors attending clinics were unable to donate for various reasons, but this figure has increased to one in four donors since November.

“The increase is caused entirely by donors presenting with haemoglobin levels below permitted EU donation limits,” Bowler stated.

In recent weeks the IBTS has requested hospitals conserve the use of blood groups O negative and B negative.

As of yesterday, blood supply levels of the main blood groups stood between four and five days.

While the knock on effect of low haemoglobin levels is expected to last for some time, it is imperative that donors come forward over the next few weeks to safeguard blood supplies during the extended holiday period of St Patrick’s Day and Easter.

In addition to normal clinics, the IBTS has scheduled six mobile clinics in Raheny, Carrickmacross, Waterford, Sligo, Carrigaline and Aherlow on Sunday 20 March to facilitate extra donations.

More information can be found on GiveBlood.ie.

Read: 90,000 regular blood donors to be contacted over faulty equipment

Read: Irish Blood Transfusion Service: ‘We’ve been exposing donors to developing anaemia’

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Órla Ryan

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