Irish blood donors are being urged to donate as supplies have reached worrying lows.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has been forced to import blood from the UK, according to the Irish Examiner, with 115 units of blood to be received from the NHS Blood and Transplant service in Manchester later today.
This is the first bulk importation of blood into the State since the 1990's, highlighting the severity of current shortages.
30/6/2021 As the blood supply is very low we urgently need texted donors to attend the clinics happening around the country this week. New donors welcome. To find your local clinic, check eligibility or register your interest see https://t.co/lE8MXBpZrV pic.twitter.com/kHNRt4GzZx
— Giveblood (@Giveblood_ie) June 30, 2021
The IBTS said they must collect approximately 3,000 units of blood per week to have an adequate supply for the country, however, just 3 per cent of the Irish population are said to be regular donators.
Importing the units from the UK will avoid the need for an alert under the Irish national blood shortage plan, which the IBTS said could impact patient care.
Ireland is not alone in these blood shortages, IBTS scientific director, Dr Stephen Field said, adding: "It has been increasingly difficult to keep the blood supply at the level we need as the summer progresses."
"It has been a very tough 15 months for everyone but as hospitals increase their levels of activity, the demand for blood is as great as ever and we are urging donors, especially those with Rh negative blood groups, to make an appointment to give blood over the summer months," Dr Field said.
Rh negative blood groups are A negative, B negative and O negative, with the latter being the universal blood group which can be given to people of all blood types.