GAA clubs set to team up with blood board
THE blood service is turning to GAA clubs across the country to provide it with supplies for its bank as donations fall.
"In 2013, 82,697 donors gave 135,547 donations. This compares to 85,762 donors giving 141,350 donations in 2012, a drop of just over 4pc," said the annual report of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.
Chairperson Prof Anthony Staines said: "We have recently established a formal link with the GAA and we visited every county board, and as many clubs as possible, to make this link real.
"We will encourage those active in the GAA to donate, or to support others in donating. The aim of this partnership is to have clinic attendance nationally of 12,000 to 15,000 donors per year from the GAA community."
Cutbacks in health spending as well as improved surgical techniques mean we are using less blood in our hospitals.
The annual report said there were other factors in reducing demand, including less wastage and reviews of transfusion practices by doctors.
Prof Staines said: "While the IBTS has always encouraged appropriate use of our products, the continued decline has occurred much more quickly than we expected especially in red cells.
"However, we know from our European colleagues that this is a trend that is happening throughout Europe."
The board's total income for 2013 was €66.47m, down from €81.75m the previous year. It has moved to single-site testing as part of a programme of structural reform and cost saving.
He said the next step in this programme is the move to single site processing of blood and blood products at the National Blood Centre in Dublin.
Just 3pc of the eligible population give blood. Donors give on average 1.6 times a year.