A total of 21% fewer people came forward to donate in 2015, compared with 2010’s figures, according to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). The average age of a blood donor has also increased in Ireland.
Last year the average age of a donor was 40.8 years, whereas, in 2005, it was 38.4 years.
This follows figures in England, where the number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time dropped by 24.4% between 2015 and 2005.
These figures have all been released as part of the #MissingType campaign, a global initiative encouraging people to become blood donors.
As part of the campaign Croke Park and the Wild Atlantic Way have temporarily dropped the letters A and O from their names [Crk Prk and Wild tlntic Wy].
This move is to highlight the need for A, B and O-type blood donors.
Other businesses and landmarks around the world have also signed up to drop the three letters from their names.
These include Bondi Beach in Australia, Table Mountain in South Africa, Microsoft, Boots, and Manchester City Football Club.
“We really hope that people will be inspired by the #MissingType campaign and start saving lives by becoming blood donors.
“They can visit giveblood.ie to check eligibility, see when the next clinic is on, or register their interest if no clinics are near them in the near future,” said Stephen Cousins, IBTS’s national donor services manager.
Mr Cousins said the IBTS is aiming to recruit 8,000 new donors by the end of 2016.
“In a survey for the #MissingType campaign, participating blood services reported the number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time was 1.8m in 2005 and 1.3m in 2015 — a drop of just over 27%. As part of this initiative, the IBTS is aiming to recruit an additional 8,000 new donors before the end of the year,” Mr Cousins said.
The IBTS noted four main barriers to people donating blood. These included increased urbanisation, wider and exotic travel, people leading busier lives and a lack of awareness for the need for new and more diverse blood donors.
Fifteen countries took part in the survey for the campaign.
From the amalgamated data it showed that 67% of donated blood is used to treat cancer patients and people with blood disorders. Twenty-seven per cent of it is used in surgery and emergency situations.
Director of donations at the National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHS BT) in Britain, Mike Stredder, said there is also an urgent need for younger donors.
“Despite overall blood use in hospitals declining, we need more young donors to safeguard blood donation for future generations,” Mr Stredder said.