A TOTAL of 10,000 blood donations are needed over the next three weeks to avoid a serious shortage in hospitals over the summer months, the blood bank warned yesterday.
Hospital demand for blood and blood products has increased this year and the summer holiday period is putting the Irish Blood Transfusion Service under huge pressure to meet demand.
Since the beginning of the year the blood bank has issued almost 2,000 more units of blood than during the same period last year.
IBTS director of operations Paddy Bowler said the blood bank had just got through a difficult week and bank holiday weekend without incident thanks to the generosity of the donors who responded to their request for donations.
The blood bank had called on people whose blood type was O positive — the most common blood group — to make a special effort to donate along with 8% of the population that has the more rare O negative blood type. The IBTS needs to collect 3,000 donations a week to maintain the blood supply but is concerned the number of people attending its clinics in recent weeks has dropped significantly.
Holiday periods always present difficulties for the blood bank in sustaining the blood supply as donations are generally lower.
However, the good weather in Ireland over the past few weeks has already caused a significant drop in attendance at clinics.
The IBTS wants donors to give blood before the holiday season starts in earnest when the school exams finish at the end of June.
“As more and more people holiday in exotic locations, they are often unable to give blood for some time after they return, so that is why we are asking donors to give blood before they go abroad,” said Mr Bowler.
With blood lasting 35 days and platelets five days, the IBTS needs people to keep visiting their clinics to maintain a consistent supply.
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