Supplies of blood too low

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Bunbury Blood Bank Registered Nurse Jackie Hood and Enrolled Nurse Michelle Aitken.
Camera IconBunbury Blood Bank Registered Nurse Jackie Hood and Enrolled Nurse Michelle Aitken. Credit: South Western Times

The Red Cross has put out an urgent call for blood donors with stocks of Australia’s two most common blood types running critically low.

Bunbury Blood Donor Centre, centre manager Susan McKenzie said the centre needs an additional 82 people to donate over the next two weeks.

“Looking ahead for the rest of November, the number of people booked in to donate are lower than we’d like,” Ms McKenzie said.

“In total we need 31,000 donations every single week to meet the needs of Australian patients.”

Despite there being a shortage, Ms McKenzie is confident Bunbury residents will roll up their sleeves to help.

“Each time we’ve put a call out for blood donors in the past, West Australians have responded overwhelmingly quickly and overwhelmingly generously,” she said.

“We’re sure we’ll see the same outcome this time.”

While all blood and plasma types are needed, supplies of O+ and A+ blood have now dropped to two days’ supply.

“Lifeblood’s supplies of O-positive and A-positive blood have now dropped to around two days’ supply,” Ms McKenzie said.

“This means stocks of Australia’s two most common blood types are under pressure.

“On average, WA needs about 3000 blood and plasma donations each week.

“Blood and plasma donors came out in force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but right now we’re seeing high levels of cancellations 30 per cent higher than during the peak of the pandemic in April.

Ms McKenzie believes the recent trend of decreasing appointments and increasing cancellations is due to unprecedented times.

“Just like the rest of the world, we’re in unprecedented times,” she said.

“We’re not sure exactly what is causing these cancellations, non-attendances and drop in future bookings.

“What we do know is that we need an additional 16,000 people to donate blood or plasma over the next two weeks, including 82 in Bunbury.

“Blood will always be needed for trauma and surgery patients, cancer treatment, new mums and many others.”

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