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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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The Irish Blood Transfusion Service says it is running low on blood

Blood donations in Ireland have fallen 21% in five years, and the IBTS is down to three days’ supply.

Image: Shutterstock

THE IRISH BLOOD Transfusion Service has warned of a shortfall in its reserves due to a fall-off in donors which has worsened in the last six weeks.

Usually the IBTS has seven days’ supply, but is currently down to three days’ supply.

The IBTS warned it that it will be difficult to guarantee a supply to hospitals in the next few weeks without a “significant” rise in donations. In the last six weeks alone, the numbers coming to their centres to give blood have dropped 6%.

In particular demand are those with ‘O Positive’ and ‘O Negative’ blood types.

The IBTS is calling on an extra 1,500 donors over the next three weeks to stabilise the supply of blood to hospitals.

Service director Paul McKinney said the drop in donations has “eroded” the blood supply. Separately, on RTE’s Morning Ireland, he said:

We are a very low level, and that’s why we’re making an appeal for donors to come to our clinics over the next few days.

“It’s always difficult in the summer, with haemoglobin levels low anyway, but with donors travelling, and their routines disrupted because of school breaks etc, that adds to the problem.”

shutterstock_312824303 Source: Shutterstock

Struggled

McKinney added: “Over the last six weeks, attendances have slipped 6%, and hospital demand has remained constant. So cumulatively we have struggled.

We’re really challenged trying to get younger donors, trying to get people into the mindset of becoming regular donors, and that’s one of the challenges that we have.

Blood donations in Ireland have fallen 21% in five years. Worldwide donations have dropped by a quarter since 2005.

The average age of Irish donors, meanwhile, is getting older – 41 years of age compared to 38 in 2011.

In Ireland, about 3,000 blood donations are required every week to have enough for those receiving cancer treatment, recovering from surgery or childbirth and for all kinds of other medical emergencies.

The IBTS recently appointed a digital marketing manager, and are in the process of developing a new website to connect with younger donors. McKinney added:

But first and foremost, we need people to attend the clinics. We need over 1500 additional donations over the next three weeks to ensure we continue to supply to the hospitals.
The response has always been good.

The IBTS is opening extra clinics this Sunday 23 October in Wexford Town, Celbridge and Mountbellew, as well as its regular clinics in D’Olier Street in Dublin, Stillorgan, Cork City, Galway City, NUI Maynooth, Trim Co Meath, Wexford town and Killarney.

Read: Lifting of blood ban welcome – but system will still discriminate against gay men in relationships

Read: Blood supply for hospitals dangerously low ahead of St Patrick’s Day

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