'Just three days blood supply left after extreme weather' - urgent appeal for donations
Blood supplies in Ireland have been described as 'severely depleted' in the wake of the extreme weather experienced in the country over the last seven days.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) have issued an urgent appeal for donors to make a special effort to give blood over the next 10 days in a bid to get supplies back to normal levels.
IBTS say that supplies have dropped due to the inability to hold donation clinics across the country over the last week due to the freezing conditions followed by Storm Emma.
IBTS Operations Director Paul McKinney detailed just how low blood stocks are in the country.
"As of this morning, we have just three days supply on average across all groups and just two days in O negative," he said.
"We will be unable to guarantee supply to hospitals unless there is a significant increase in donations over the coming weeks to make up the shortfall," he added.
“With St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching and Easter on the horizon, we have limited time to get the blood supply stabilised so we are asking blood donors to make a special effort to give blood over the coming weeks when there is a clinic in their area which will help to restore blood supplies. We are aiming to collect 7,000 donations between now and St Patrick’s weekend”
To help achieve this target, extra donation clinics are being organised in addition to normal clinics.
On Sunday March 11 extra clinics will take place in Waterford city, Drogheda, Celbridge and Doon, Co Limerick.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1's News at One, Mr McKinney also appealed to those who haven't given blood before to attend to become donors.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris is also urging people to give blood and help restore blood supplies.
The Minister said "One in four people will require a blood transfusion at some time in their lives. For many people that time is now, and our blood supply has been severely depleted over the last week.
“The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has kept up its supply to hospitals during the severe weather, but hasn't been able to hold clinics. Now they have just three days supply on average across all groups and just 2 days of O negative.
"I'm now asking blood donors, and those who would like to be blood donors, to visit a clinic in the coming weeks.
“Every week, hundreds of patients in hospitals all around the country are helped in their recovery by the ready availability of blood. I want to acknowledge the generosity of donors and the work of the IBTS in maintaining this vital supply.
"The IBTS is aiming to collect 7,000 donations between now and St Patrick’s weekend, and I'm appealing to those who able to do so to give blood and make a vital difference to those in need."