Almost 13,000 blood donations are needed before Christmas to boost blood-bank supplies which have dropped to half the ideal level.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) urged people to make a special effort to give blood between now and Christmas as they announced details of the Garda Blood for Life Cycle in Cork yesterday.
“Low attendances at clinics since the October bank holiday weekend has left the blood supply very tight in recent weeks,” the IBTS’s director of operations Paddy Bowler said.
“The most common blood groups have regularly been at the four-day stock level in recent weeks.
“Today, there are 3.5 days of blood supply in stock — which means that meeting hospital requirements over the forthcoming holiday period is a particularly difficult challenge. Ideally, we would like to have seven days’ supply.”
He encouraged donors all over the country, but especially those living in urban areas, to give blood over the coming days.
“Approximately 16% of all people who attend one of our clinics cannot give blood on any given day,” he said.
“Therefore we actually need about 16,000 people to attend our clinics in the coming weeks to reach our target of 13,000 donations.”
His appeal came as 12 gardaí in Cork announced details of their 660km Blood for Life cycle from Malin to Mizen next April for the IBTS.
They hope to encourage 660 new blood donors to sign up to the IBTS and have more than 100 new donors signed up already.
Chief Superintendent Michael Finn, who is in training for the cycle along with Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan, and Sergeant Pat Harrington, said most of the gardaí taking part are members of Cork City Divisional Traffic Corps.
They are often the first of the emergency services to arrive at the scene of a bad accident, and see first-hand the importance of blood donations, he said. The traffic corps also provides for seriously ill patients and blood transfers.
The cycle, which is due to begin in Malin on Apr 26, should take four days to complete.
It is estimated that a unit of blood is required for a patient every six minutes.
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