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Can you help? Flooding crisis leads to severe drop in blood supply at hospitals

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has said that their blood supply is the lowest it has been for years.

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

BLOOD SUPPLY LEVELS in Ireland are at their lowest point in years due to the recent flooding and bad weather, prompting the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) to call for more donors to come forward.

The IBTS has already warned hospitals to conserve their supply of O- blood, the universal blood type, which can be transfused to almost any person in need but is only present in 8% of the population.

The organisation is urging people to donate blood, and has scheduled additional clinics in certain parts of the country for this coming Sunday.

The IBTS aim to hold a seven day supply of every blood type, stored in the National Blood Centre in St James’s Hospital, ready to deliver to hospitals in need.

“We normally have six to seven days of supply, which keeps things ticking over,” Paddy Bowler, operations director with the IBTS, told TheJournal.ie.

Levels for the major blood groups are currently at the two to three day mark – the lowest they have been in years.

“Once we get down to two to three days we know we’re in a very serious situation,” said Bowler.

At this time we’ve already had to ask hospitals to conserve usage of some blood groups which is not ideal but is absolutely necessary.
The next step for us if we can’t resolve this problem – and generally we do – but if we can’t resolve this problem we would be asking hospitals to cancel elective surgeries.

blood Source: IBTS

Flooding

Bowler said attendance at clinics had been usually low, due to the recent flooding across the country. In recent weeks people were being advised only to travel when it was absolutely necessary to do so, meaning that numbers donating blood dropped off.

“We can see the attendance levels down, particularly in areas where there has been flooding,” said Bowler.

“And it’s no surprise when the local advice has been not to travel unless it was absolutely necessary.”

According to Bowler, the last time the levels were this low was during the winter of 2010, when widespread snow and ice made it difficult for people to travel.

A week’s supply of blood is generally 2,600 units (about 13,000 litres).

“We’re appealing across all blood groups to come forward,” said Bowler.

The IBTS is calling on people to make an extra effort to come forward to donate in the next two weeks, and the bring a new donor with them if possible.

Anyone looking for clinic details can visit www.giveblood.ie

Read: Tourist undergoes emergency surgery after strangers in Thailand queue to give blood

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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