More blood donors needed
Lifeblood is calling on eligible Australians to become blood donors and for existing donors to make and honour their appointments to prevent a potential shortage of blood supplies.
Some 14,000 donors are needed to make an appointment over the next few weeks, including the Easter long weekend, to bolster supplies. The Easter period is a time when many regular donors take a break, but the need for blood never stops.
Lifeblood Chief Executive Shelly Park said the organisation was also preparing for the annual cold and flu season, and said the emergence of the novel coronavirus could put the nation’s blood supply under pressure should existing donors become unavailable and regular donations become disrupted. Temporary fast-tracking of elective surgeries could also increase the demand on blood supplies.
“At the start of 2020, we saw a phenomenal response from donors, who came forward and rolled up their sleeves as a way to help with the nation’s bushfire response.
“However, those generous donors now have to wait 12 weeks before they are able to donate again. This means there are now fewer people able to donate over the coming weeks. Last minute cancellations are also putting a dent in blood stocks at a time when donors are in urgent need. As we all know, there is no substitute for blood. It is a critical resource, and right now, we need more people booking appointments to donate.
“Blood is needed every day by Australian patients including road trauma patients, surgical patients, medical and orthopaedic patients, pregnant mums and cancer patients.”
Lifeblood wants to reassure donors and the community that there is no evidence coronavirus is transmittable by blood transfusion.
Ms Park said: “The organisation has robust processes in place to ensure the safety of the blood supply and our donors, and we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood. Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case.
“To ensure there is a sufficient blood supply, we are appealing to donors to keep their appointments if well and healthy and are inviting new donors or those who haven’t donated for a while to come forward to help us.”
There are currently 500,000 Australians who donate blood, but millions more who may be eligible to donate.
Ms Park said: “Every week across Australia, we need to collect around 29,000 blood and plasma donations.
“Right now, we have 14,000 appointments that need to be filled over the next few weeks as we work to continue providing life-saving blood and blood products to Australian patients as we head into the busy Easter period. It only takes an hour to give blood, but could be the life-changing gift to help someone celebrate next Easter at home with their loved-ones.
“If you are a donor and haven’t made your next appointment, you can help us be prepared by booking one in the next few weeks as we approach the Easter period. And if you have never donated before, now is a great time to become a donor and help us maintain the nation’s blood supplies. This is your opportunity to give the gift of life to another,” Ms Park added.